Thursday, February 29

The Pantomime Adventures Of Peter Pan – Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

‘Tomm-eh… Tomm-eh!’

This was wild this year, sketches and skits performed at breakneck speed with scant regard for a wafer-thin plot, but did anyone care? Certainly not Tommy, one of the three kids hauled up to – hopefully – coin a spoonerism from a rendition of May McSmee’s (Allan Stewart) song about ‘smart fellas’. For despite the best efforts of the other two (Enda and Orla) he ended up garnering the biggest cheers for his devil-may-care attitude, quite an achievement in the face of full-throttle Allan Stewart. It summed things up; it wasn’t supposed to go like that, but it had everyone howling in their seats. This was full-tilt, punk pantomime. Amidst the shaky plot were several things that didn’t fit, particularly the Flawless dance troupe, but hang on, it’s… Flawless for heaven’s sake!

So, plot-spoiler, this isn’t the Peter Pan you read as a child (or read to your children). Long after Peter and his pals have triumphed over the evil Captain James T Hook (Grant Stott), consigning him to the jaws of Jock The Big Green Croc, there’s issues with Peter’s aerodynamics. Someone’s been interfering with a waterfall and you-know-who is back, twice as bad and seeking some revenge, providing the platform for more crackling two-handers between Stott and Stewart and persistent misbehaviour from the irrepressible Smee (Jordan ‘Hiya Pals’ Young). The question lingering as everyone steps out into the cold is ‘just how does he execute that monologue? Vicky Pollard wouldnae’ve made it past the first hurdle.’

Contemporary references abound, there’s VAR assessing whether a piece of humour was funny (or ‘a clear and obvious error’) and a Lidl Mermaid made an appearance. Allan says in the programme ‘our humour has become slightly more edgy’ and it turns out expunging last year’s image of Mrs Incredible was in vain for its replaced this year with Barbie, who’s something to get off her chest. Provided she can keep it still.

There were some odd, brief, dead spots but the pace was so frantic they were quickly forgotten and no doubt by the end of the run these will be in the bin. Oh to be a fly on the wall at the genesis of these scripts for they must be an unbridled hoot. You could probably sell tickets.

Playing until 31st December,

Reviewer: Roger Jacobs

Reviewed: 1st December 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.