Peter Pan, at the Darlington Civic Theatre, wastes no time in getting the action from the Darling household to Neverland. But, as this is pantoland that is no bad thing, as it allows the mayhem, provided by the Grumbleweeds, to start all the earlier.
While all the ingredients of the Peter Pan story are there; Peter flying Wendy and her brothers over the roof tops of London (although only Wendy and Peter actually fly), the lost children, Tigerlily, the crocodile and Captain Hook, this production has all the elements of a typical pantomime.
Director, Barbara Evans, ensures this panto version of the story moves at a fast pace, with plenty of audience participation and fun being supplied by the Grumbleweeds (Robin Colvill and Graham Walker) as Starkey and Smee. These guys understand pantomime and it shows, with their humour aimed at both children and adults, there is never a dull moment when they are on stage.
The main players all connect with the audience, especially Susan Hallam-Wright as Peter Pan and Louise Lenihan as the roller skating Tinkerbell. While Captain Hook is played by David Essex, who plays the role as David Essex, with his trade mark smile and glint in his eyes, placing the female members of the audience firmly in the palm of his hand.
This production will be enjoyed by all the family and is an ideal Christmas treat, as well as being a great introduction to the wonderful world of pantomime for children.