It's Christmas Panto season... Oh no it isn't, oh yes it is! (had to) I was invited along to the Press night of The Regent Theatre's production of Peter Pan, Peter Pan-to if you will... on Tuesday night and took along all the family for what has long been many families' tradition come Christmas time.
This is Jonny Wilkes' 10th anniversary performing in Stoke at Christmas as he is as much as the tradition as the Potteries Panto itself so the crowd was delighted to see him back and on top form with the 'Christmas cracker' jokes and cheeky chappy persona. He plays Smee, Captain Hook's trusty companion (Christian Patterson) who made the perfect double act from witty banter back and forth to their impressive cabaret rendition of 'Me and My Shadow'. Also a special mention has to go to Wilkes' 'All I care about is Stoke' - the lyrics were genius.
Peter Pan follows the fairytale story of Wendy, Neverland an The Lost Boys with a few tweaks here and there and plenty of Stokey references sprinkled throughout the dialogue to get the crowds whooping! Like any good Panto I've seen before there were ample cheeky tongue-in-cheek remarks for the grown ups and hilariously silly scenes that delighted the kids.
My favourite scene has to be the song 'Rule The World' between Peter (Shannon Paul Lane) and Wendy (Yazmin Wood) as the stage setting was visually stunning with a sky full of stars as the pair glided through the air- it was truly magical and was one of those moments that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy; just what you want at Christmas time if you ask me.
Tinkerbell had a fantastic voice and brought the house down with her closing song 'River Deep Mountain High' and equally as impressive rollerskating skills! And the Indians at Neverland offered some fantastic inspiration with 'Uptown Funk' and there were definitely some dance moves in there that I'll be borrowing for my work Christmas do.
You can tell from the sets to the songs to the perfectly 'undone' scenes A LOT of work has gone into the production and I know the cast and crew will reap the rewards with the inevitable crowds of friends and families coming to the theatre over Christmas.
Well, Jonny, Christian, The Regent team... You've done it again. You've cracked open Christmas for Stoke!
Peter Pan is playing at The Regent Theatre from now until 3rd January 2016 and you can get tickets here- http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/peter-pan/regent-theatre/