Peter Pan – Review – Hull New Theatre

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Peter Pan – Review

Hull New Theatre, December 2017

by Karl Hornsey

The panto season is in full swing and Hull New Theatre have got a cracker on their hands with this year’s choice of Peter Pan. I’ve seen a few pantomimes in Hull in recent years, but this one proved to be head and shoulders above the rest, offering the time-honoured combination of fresh-faced hero against the evil bad guy, plenty of modern tunes thrown in to entertain the kids, and lashings of lame gags and innuendo for the adults.

All of which seemed to go down particularly well with the packed audience and, in this day and age, it’s wonderful to see such traditions not only surviving, but positively thriving.

Former EastEnders actor Jonny Labey takes the role of the eponymous Boy Who Never Grew Up, bringing a nimble vitality to the part, often high above the stage, as he tries to save the children of Neverland from the clutches of the evil Captain Hook.

peter pan review hull new theatre darren day

Darren Day as Captain Hook and Jonny Labey as Peter Pan in Hull New Theatre’s 2017 panto

“Having far too much fun”

And it’s the casting of Hook that really brings this to life, with there being no doubt that this is Darren Day’s show. His portrayal of Hook is as Cockney as it comes and, while he may be there to bring some menace and fear to proceedings, he’s having far too much fun to try to keep up the archetypal villainous role.

Instead, he’s involved in all the best scenes, coping like a true professional with misfiring props, forgotten lines and plenty of corpsing, following the golden rule of never once taking either himself or the panto at all seriously.

His extensive experience in musical theatre clearly stands him in great stead to lead the show and, as well as receiving the customary boos and hisses from the audience, his near-the-knuckle sketch with Brendan Sheerin and Ricky K about a pleasant peasant pheasant-plucker is worth the entrance fee itself.

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Cast of Peter Pan, this year’s pantomime at Hull New Theatre

“Memorable”

The cast also includes former Emmerdale actress Charlie Hardwick as Mimi the Magical Mermaid, who joins Day in a memorable version of Frankie Valli’s ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’, which I’d wager has never quite been performed in such a fashion and to such adapted lyrics.

Added to fantastic all-singing, all-dancing performances from the youngsters in the cast, there is a hugely popular, high-octane 3-D sequence at the start of the second half, in which a whole host of fearsome sea creatures come to life and into the audience – so make sure you either take your 3-D glasses with you or grab some at the interval.

Throw in the physically exhausting rendition of ’12 Days of Christmas’ to round things off and the fact that, at around two and a half hours, there’s no doubting this is value for money for the whole family, then I would heartily recommend this to people of all ages. Oh yes I would…

2 Comments on "Peter Pan – Review – Hull New Theatre"

  1. Amanda Watson December 26, 2017 at 9:59 PM · Reply

    Seen this fabulous panto this afternoon (Boxing Day) and have to agree with above review – this was a superb show in all areas: performances, script, jokes, singing, dancing…and the 3D bit was brilliant. Aimed at both adults and children it had everything, was nearly 2 hours, not including the interval and at £25 for our adult tickets (circle), it was great value for money. Whole family agreed it was the best panto we’ve seen in last 9 years….well done to all the cast and crew….esp Darren Day who is back to his musical theatre best!

  2. Margaret December 26, 2017 at 2:16 PM · Reply

    Went to see Peter Pan at Hull Christmas Eve this was THE BEST panto I have ever seen and I have been to a lot. Darren Day you are without a doubt a brilliantly funny and awesome bad guy what a star please do more of this what a talent you really are fantastic! The rest of the cast were also fabulous, the 3d part was utterly amazing and I could have sat and watched the whole thing again, can’t get the piston broke out of my head hilarious x well done Hull for a fantastic show made my Christmas x

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