REVIEW: Peter Pan sprinkles some fairy dust on this year's Panto

Millennium Forum, until 30th Dec

A sprinkling of fairy dust transformed the Millennium Forum into Neverland last night, as Peter Pan and the Lost Boys came to town.

Billed as the ‘biggest show of the year’, the Forum’s own in-house production lived up to its billing and excelled yet again this year, leaving the kids in stitches and the adults not wanting to grow up.

Local is the key word in this production, and highlights the incredible talent which we have on our doorstep.

Based on Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie’s famous novel, Peter Pan and his Lost Boys sprinkled their fairydust on the Millennium Forum to bing this iconic story to life. Staying true to the original it follows the journey of Wendy Darling, who is performed elegantly by Annie McCarroll, as Peter Pan entices her and her two young brothers, Michael and John, to Neverland for a magical adventure.

Leaving the safety of their home, Peter leads them on their merry way as they fly across the stage in an aerial dance. Swooping over the rooftops of London towards the hills and dales of the countryside, the fearless foursome arrive in the magical island of Neverland for an adventure of a lifetime and a battle with the infamous Captain Hook.

William Caulfield has returned for the thirteenth consecutive year to lead the cast. This season he takes on the iconic role of Peter’s archenemy, the dastardly, the deliciously menacing Hook. Swapping the Panto Dame dress for pirate breeches, it is evident that the Northern Irish comic relishes in the role as panto villain, soaking up the hisses and boos while working the audience into a frenzy.

William is joined by an incredibly talented local cast and in-house production team. Conor O’Kane kept the kids animated throughout as Hook’s hilarious sidekick ‘Smee’. Bridging the gap between Hook’s snarling pirates and Peter’s Lost Boys, Smee instantly had the audience onside, while encouraging the boos and laughs directed at Hook.

Local actress Ellen Hasson takes on the title role of Pan with ease. With strong vocals and animated performance, her energy filled the stage, knitting the characters together for this magical tale, while Kathryn Rutherford joined the fight as the indian princess Tiger Lily, leading an ensemble of indians on their quest to topple the Captain of the Jolly Roger.

With a host of talented kids joining the crew, all of whom strong vocally and fantastic little actors, it was evident that that the future is bright.

This year’s panto is a must see. A heartwarming show for all the family and a great way to celebrate the festive season, and you’ll be screaming out, “I do believe in fairies, I do! I do! I DO!”

Peter Pan runs at the Millennium Forum until Sunday 30th December with tickets from £12.50 and available here

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