Peter Pan, Tinkerbell and the gang flew into Wolverhampton tonight for the launch of panto season. Yes the shouts of ‘he’s behind you’ ,’oh no it isn’t’ and the new addition ‘to me, to you’ were once again reverberating around the beautiful Grand Theatre as the anarchic nuttiness of The Chuckle Brothers and the cartoon ham villainy of John Altman( aka Nasty Nick Cotton) made Peter Pan another panto smash hit. For good family fun and entertainment this is hard to beat, and this is mainly due to panto gold Paul and Barry Chuckle.
As is so often the case in panto land, the lead characters are not the stars, both Peter Pan and Wendy are charmingly played by Ross Carpenter and Hannah Nicholas and perform their singing and dancing well. But it is the panto veterans The Chuckle Brothers, playing the inept, would be pirates the Smee brothers, who literally steal every scene they are involved in. They are hilarious, great at ad-libbing and slapstick and have the audience rolling in the aisles and eating out of their hands. A scene involving a sword, a box with a hole and a cucumber will long remain in the memory.
But it would be wrong to say Peter Pan is just the Chuckle Brothers show. John Altman is a smashing Captain Hook, he sends up his Eastenders television persona perfectly and plays everything with his tongue firmly in cheek. And the beauty that is panto cannot be summed up more perfectly than with TV’s arch villian Nasty Nick, dressed up as a one armed pirate singing Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood – life does not get more surreal than that, and is all the better for it. I was also impressed with the sassy, vibrant Tinkerbell, played by another former soap star Lucy Evans, who turned in a suitably sparkling performance.
It is hard to not give too much away, but once again the Grand has excelled with stunning scenery including a fabulous pirate ship, and a flying car that will literally take your breath away. For a lovely, warm family night out suitable for everyone from the kids to great granny, Peter Pan is it.
Peter Pan at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre
Tue 15 Dec – Sun 24 Jan 2016
Click here for ticket information.