I absolutely adore the silliness of pantomime, always have. I’ve even performed in a few pantos when I was a young and aspiring thespian! So for me there is no greater way to kick start the festive season than by donning a Christmas jumper and heading to a local theatre for some slapstick comedy and a good old sing-a-long.
Here in Geordieland we are rather spoilt for choice when it comes to places to watch a panto, this year there seems to be more than ever to choose from but without question, the biggest and best is at Newcastle Theatre Royal! That’s not just my humble opinion either… Father and son duo Clive Webb and Danny Adams have been performing here for 13 consecutive years now, that’s well over 1000 shows under their belts so they certainly know how to entertain the Tynesiders!
This year with the help of an extremely talented cast including Newcastle’s longest serving Dame, Chris Hayward, they bring to life the tale of Peter Pan, with a Geordie twist of course! The show is produced and directed by Wallsend-born Michael Harrison so you can expect an abundance of local references alongside familiar gags.
James and I went along for press night and as I’d not heard much about this year’s sure I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The Theatre Royal panto has gained quite a reputation over the years for its jaw-dropping special effects. In previous years we’ve had everything from flying cars to 3D scenes and this year, once again, no expense has been spared to create a production that leaves the audience mesmerised. I don’t want to give too much away but needless to say I couldn’t believe my eyes when the crocodile made an appearance, no wonder Hook was so petrified, I was too! I also loved watching the Dame defy gravity while doing a loop the loop in mid air on a pink moped!
There might not be any TV celebs or pop stars in the Theatre Royal panto, but I for one would rather watch the amazingly talented circus performers that appear in Peter Pan. The ‘Timbuktu Tumblers’ are a Kenyan acrobatic team that had me cheering like a child and I couldn’t believe my eyes as I watched ‘The Drunken Pirates’ balance on top of a tower of moving cylinders, it was breathtaking!
The quality of the staging, wardrobe, lighting and effects at the Theatre Royal panto put it in the same league as a West End show, which is why I think it’s the best North East panto for big kids and theatre lovers like me. Much of the humour is aimed at adults too and some of Danny’s one liners were quite frankly hilarious! That said, the little ones who were sat in our vicinity giggled and cheered all the way through, even if some of the jokes went over their heads.
The tale of Peter Pan might be a classic but one thing’s for sure, you will never have seen it like this before! It’s in Toon till the 21st of Jan so try and catch it if you can.
Share your Theatre Royal panto memories in the comments below!