Cresset serves up perfect panto recipe

I kept up an annual tradition of posing for a family selfie at The Cresset panto on Sunday.... quite fitting really as the theatre kept up its tradition of delivering a traditional, fun, family panto.

There is nothing flash about Peter Pan, no airs and graces, it is not slick and polished or over-thought; just a well known story wrapped around heaps of good old fashioned comedy, song and dance and audience participation.

It’s theatre, review, pop concert and music hall all rolled into one - the perfect panto recipe and all done very well.

Like the Aldi supermarket near the Bretton venue, it is cheap and cheerful... but great value for money.

Former Coronation Street star Steven Arnold grabbed the panto baddy role with two hands - well one and a hook anyway - playing the not very scary villain Captain Hook with a caddish Terry Thomas voice and one heck of a cackle.

Ad-libbed or not, I did smile at his parting comment before walking the plank - “This doesn’t happen to Johnny Depp” - delivered in his best Ashley from Corrie squeaky voice. Uncle Fred Elliott would have enjoyed that, I say Uncle Fred Elliott would have enjoyed that!

Hollyoaks’ James Fletcher was in great voice as the hero of the piece Peter - not bad considering he was flying through the air on wires for a fair chunk of it. He was well supported in the singing department by Victoria Jane (Wendy) and Kluane Saunders (Tiger Lily).

Peter McCrohon was his usual, fun loving self as dopey pirate Smee and I did like the delivery of the Dame - Zach Vanderfelt with tongue firmly in cheek as the naughty and nautical Mrs Smee.

Both played to the audience, and played it for laughs.... and they got plenty from the appreciative audience.

The singing - pretty much all well-known tunes -and the dancing , particularly with so many enthusiastic local youngsters on stage making up the Lost Boys, Indians and Pirates - was on the whole excellent.

Criticisms... perhaps a song or two too long and I did feel a little uncomfortable with the Dame’s “striptease” costume change... even if it got plenty of laughs.

The highlight ... the 12 Gifts of Christmas routine - did they get all the way ? I don’t know, I was so busy laughing.

You can see Peter Pan until December 30. Contact the box office on 01733 265705 or online at www.cresset.co.uk

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