USER: UK Theatre Web (14Dec01): Panto season is upon us once more, and this year The Chuchill Theatres offering is J M Barrie's classic tale of pirates, indians, and the boy who never grew up Peter Pan.
In the lead role of Captain Hook is Paul Nicholas, who plays the role competantly. Although he portrays the villanous buccaneer, more as a role which begs sympathy from the audience, rather than an evil cut throat.
Playing alongside Paul, as our hero of the hour, is the delightful Julie Buckfield.
Taking to the air in her fourth season as Peter Pan, following a successfull tour this summer, Julie shows why she has become a first choice for this role.
Sadly though she has to rely on the most part forming a double act with Paul, lacking a suitable Smee -played by Kim Smith- andmissing Suzi Corrigan, who use to play Tiger Lily in the previous three Xmas pantos Julie has performed in.
The aforementioned Kim Smith failed to bring the role of Smee to life, relegated to more of a side show role, rather that a central figure.
The cast was rounded of with a good performance by Carol Ball as Mrs Darling/Mermaid and Caroline Deverill as Tinkerbell.
However Lucy Morgan as Wendy, and Natasha Jaytileke didn` quite seem to be on par, but only time will tell if they add an extra dimension to the show.
Hi-lights of the show are a dazzling display of agility by the Acromanicas as the pirate crew, The flying sequences, where Julie flie just feet above the audience, and the final fight.
This scene demands full audience participation, as blocks of foam rubber are flung in an all out melee, filling the air with missiles, some how making a few war zones around the world seem very safe. But be warned as if seated in the first few rows of the stalls you may be in for an unexpected suprise, as Peter shows how "he" deals with the pirates.
Is the show worth watching?. For young children yes, although adults might find the show hard going at times.