5th December 2017
Wyvern Theatre Peter Pan Panto time
Well listeners it’s that time of year again. Oh no it isn’t! Oh yes it is! If Christmas is coming then the Panto is here.
Like all good theatres up and down the land, the Wyvern Theatre stages (see what I did there?) an annual pantomime. And this year it’s Peter Pan. Now were I to nitpick I’d be honour bound to say that, properly and traditionally speaking, Peter Pan isn’t a panto at all but a play and a novel by J.M Barrie. I guess now though, Peter Pan is a cultural icon and doing a panto version keeps the story alive.
The play, entitled ‘Peter Pan – or the boy who wouldn’t grow up‘ premiered in London in 1904.
Both versions of Barrie’s story tell the tale of Peter Pan – a mischievous little boy who can fly. He has lots of adventures on the magical island of Neverland – a place where mermaids, fairies, native Americans and pirates live.
The inspiration for both play and novel came from Barrie’s friendship with the Llewelyn Davies family. Barrie continued to revise the play for years after its debut until publication of the play script in 1928.
Tradition dictated a petite woman played the character of Peter Pan in the play. I daresay because in size and voice timbre they’d be better believed as a small boy than a grown man. One does have to suspend disbelief a tad more when it’s a grown man in tights flying about the stage. But hey – this is panto not a Pinter play.
Anyway onwards and UPWARDS to Swindon’s own Pantastic production
Oh we had the best time. This is a riotous performance with a terrific ensemble cast. The pirates, the indians and the lost boys all.
Not being an Eastenders viewer (I’ve never heard the theme tune in its entirety) I was keen to see Adam Woodyatt in action as Captain Hook. After seeing last year’s panto where the leading man was wooden to put it mildly I thought he made a quite decent stab of it. I said stab … oh suit yourself … He – well everyone TBH got proper warmed up in the second half.
But the top spot in the panto performance league has to go to Antony Lawrence as Smee. He does a terrific job as the comic turn – the Peter Pan equivalent of the ugly sisters, Widow Twankey etc. He’s fabulous on his own and together with other cast members – superb.
Like all good pantomimes this one has its share of song and dance routines, slapstick, innuendo, corny jokes, brilliant comic timing and of course – LOTS OF SHOUTING. And getting wet????!!!! Pirates with nerf guns??? Hmmm ….. In short: Pantastic panto pandemonium at Peter Pan. LOVING the alliteration opportunities here!
All in all it’s a great production that I heartily recommend. Oh no I don’t! Oh YES I DO!!
The wonderful Wyvern people have probably noticed my pitiful photography efforts so sent me some publicity shots to use. Not a bad idea!
Photography Credit: Pete Dewhirst.
The Peter Pan Pantomime is on now and runs until the 31st December 2017. Follow this link to book your tickets.
Peter Pan in the Town Gardens
Incidentally – there’s a statue of Peter Pan in Swindon’s Town gardens.
Here’s a report from BBC Wiltshire when the statue was beheaded!