Peter Pan (Southend – panto)
Alan McHugh's adaptation of JM Barrie's play into a pantomime format makes Smee into the Dame role – something which Christopher Biggins takes on board with perfect ease. The other above-the-title casting is that of David Hasselhoff as Captain Hook – Hoff the Hook.
Somehow, in spite of these star players, it's Isobel Hathaway's Tinkerbell, a stroppy spirit on roller-skates, who dominates the show, though Biggins runs her a close second as an audience favourite. Hannah Nicholas' no-nonsense Wendy and Dickie Woods' less-than-charismatic Peter somewhat struggle to keep up.
The actual staging (Michael Vivian) is good. Like many other such multi-purpose venues, the Cliffs Pavilion has a wide but shallow stage with minimal space above it to fly scenery – let alone actors – but this doesn't impede the spectacle.
Gerry Zuccarello's choreography for the eight adult dancers and the youngsters from Masters Performing Arts College is slick and well varied; there's plenty to keep adult attention focused on the stage.
Melissa James as Tiger Lily, Carmen Vass as the Magical Mermaid and Steve Laister as Starkey complete the cast. Musical direction is by David Beer. Hasselhoff and Biggins throw themselves wholeheartedly into this romp of a show but for me, at any rate, it never really jelled.
Peter Pan runs at the Cliffs Pavilion, Southend-on-Sea until 11 January.