It’s all singing, all dancing, vibrant, funny and high flying.
There’s not much more you could need from a panto for those wanting good old tried and trusted family entertainment in the run-up to Christmas.
Mainstay and lynchpin at Halifax for many years is Neil Hurst, a natural comedian very much in the mould of Peter Kay. And he doesn’t look unlike him either.
He sure knows how to work an audience and his timing and ad-libbing is always spot on.
The script’s bang up to date with Neil using Honey G’s catchphrase twisted to his own ends every time he appears. He’s got way more X Factor than the rapper, too.
He plays one of the pirates Mr Smee – cue countless plays on words – and apparently met Captain Hook in a second hand shop. Get it? Oh, please yourselves.
Hook is played by Andrew Piper who gives the role the full theatrical oomph. Come to think of it, he looks a bit like Capt Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean.
Outrageous ‘glamour’ comes in the unshapely form of the dame, Nanny McSmee (Max Cane), who adopts Les Dawsonesque mannerisms and facial expressions and does a nice line in wholly impractical nautical fashion. Try getting through a door with a ship on your head.
Kieran Morris gives the Peter Pan character a decided edge with both he and Wendy (Katie Faye) both leading the way confidently when it comes to singing.
It can be quite a technical show. At one point we have Peter Pan and the three children all flying and Peter’s forever taking off, landing and, well, just hanging around. It’s a brilliant achievement.
There’s singers and dancers galore – led by a professional ensemble – with several songs everyone will know.
Slapstick looms large with the usual ghost scene song, cream cakes slapped in the face and a song that ends up with five toilet rolls flung into the audience.
And the audience certainly seemed to love it. And when the customers are happy, everyone’s happy.
It’s very different from Cinderella now running at the LBT and there’s no harm or repetition in seeing both. Just goes to show when you’ve seen one panto you haven’t seen them all.
Peter Pan runs at the Victoria Theatre in Halifax until January 2.