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Peter Pan (Manchester)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Whoever heard of an American playing panto? Well, David Hasselhoff of Knight Rider and Bay Watch fame, joins the likes of Henry Winkler and Priscilla Presley and he takes to the role of the wicked, swashbuckling Captain Hook like a duck to water.

The Hoff laps up the boos and hisses as he struts menacingly across the stage threatening to poison Peter Pan (Amy Bird). The children in the audience on the night I attended clearly prefer Act Two which is far more interactive and less like a cabaret than the first. Their parents enjoy the singing of Jenny Fitzpatrick, Lakesha Cammock and Donna Hines.

If there is one thing that distinguishes this panto from all others, it is the flying. Peter Pan, Wendy (Lorna Want), John and Michael (different children nightly) sore high above the stage to Neverland. It all looks so easy and I’m sure the kids long to join them.

But there are plenty of other things to interest them. The loveable Smee, Hook’s rambunctious right-hand man played by the energetic and fun loving Tam Ryan, encourages so much interaction that the walls of the theatre are almost blow apart with the shouting.

Fairy Tinkerbell is a light that flickers around but when she stops you see a perfect fairy image. Another non-human is Shane Knight as Nana the cuddly dog with the nanny’s hat.

Peter Pan sparkles with glamorous costumes, amazing sets, wonderful songs and dancing, too. Above all, it makes you laugh like a drain and that’s what it’s all about.

- Julia Taylor


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