Before we begin, lets get the panto puns out of the window!
“OH NO YOU CAN’T, OH YES I CAN! – it is my blog after all.
HE’s BEHIND YOU! – OH NO HE ISN’T! OH YES HE IS, OH NO HE ISN’T.
(this could go on for a while)
After the success of last years Christmas panto, Dick Whittington, Stoke born and bred Jonathan Wilkes returns to the stage of the Regent Theatre in Hanley for the tenth year in a row (!) for a 5 week long run over the Christmas period. With him he brings the fabulous Christian Patterson to make up the panto team of dreams for their take on the much loved story, Peter Pan.
A rather apt play for panto time, Peter Pan tells the story of Peter and The Lost Boys, Tink, Wendy Moira Angela Darling and her brothers and of course Captain Hook and the world of Neverland, where you never grow up.
If there was ever a story more representative of the magic of panto, it’s Peter Pan. With an auditorium filled with children of all ages accompanied by mums, dads and grandma June with her boiled sweets, the excitement for the show was palpable but it wasn’t just excitement from the children. Panto really does entertain people of all ages and the belly laughs were equally as loud from mums and dads as they were from children.. & . Panto doesn’t discriminate against age and I know for a fact that there are those amongst us who partake in an annual panto trip, without children. There’s nothing that warms your cockles at Christmas more than slap stick gags, “accidental” falling over and audience chanting than a tongue in cheek take on a much loved classic with a tonne of geographical references thrown in that only those from Stoke will appreciate. Maybe the odd glass of Bailey’s and a pig in blanket?
I took along my friend and her two children for the opening night, and not only was it their first time watching panto, it was their first time at the theatre ever. By the time the lights came down in the theatre and the first note of music had been played, their excitement was infectious and I found myself clapping along with them and booing and chanting at the actors commands.
One of my favourite, favourite things about panto is that for many children (like Joe & Charlie) is that it’s their very first experience of theatre and that experience is something completely unrivalled.
It’s a 3D version of your standard trip to the cinema and the audience participation alone makes it a much more immersive experience.
I’m sure I must have been to panto at least once when I was younger (my mum insists I did) but I was too young to remember. The first trip I do remember is a memory that stays with me now and I believe is what sparked the love for theatre that I have now.
If you’re looking to entertain your little Elves over this festive period OR you’re a grown ass adult looking for a laugh and an interval ice cream, Peter Pan is the place to go.
Peter Pan runs until the 3rd January at the Regent Theatre in Hanley. Tickets can be purchased online or are available via the Box Office.