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The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan

Reviewed by David Bithell for A View to a Kiln

Photo credits by Claralou Photography

‘Aye up me ducks’ it’s that time of the year again, oh no it isn’t, oh yes it is! It’s only panto time at the Regent theatre in Stoke on Trent. It wouldn’t be panto without the legendary Jonny Wilkes and Kai Owen providing the laughs.

This year we don’t get to see adopted Stokie, Christian Patterson (due to other work commitments), but the cast and crew of The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan certainly didn’t disappoint.

The panto is of course based on the original Peter Pan story, with Wendy returning to Never Land as Peter Pan has forgotten how to fly.

The show begins with a magical entrance from Tinker Belle (played by the lovely Amanda Coutts) and we soon meet returning Regent theatre panto star Jonny Wilkes who plays Smee in this production. Immediately he is encouraging the audience to get on their feet and interact with a little dance and jig to get the panto off to a fun part. The nods are there to local roots and things of interest with the rivalry to Stoke on Trent’s two football teams, Stoke City and Port Vale, also little mentions of places in Stoke along with pubs around the theatre all get a mention.

So Jonny’s character Smee has befriended Peter Pan (Rory Sutherland) and is immediately tasked in helping him and Wendy (Hannah Everest) to find more magic dust which will help Peter fly again. Enter Peter Pan villain, Captain Hook (played by Kai Owen) who is here to make sure that doesn’t happen. Kai as usual is fantastic, and you can see the onstage chemistry he and Jonny have which makes the perfect comedy timing extra special and push each others boundaries.

As usual Jonny anchors the panto to perfection and provides the energy and passion to the people of Stoke which emanates to the rest of the cast. He clearly loves the area he is from and especially the Regent Theatre, which is why I believe “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it” and this year is no different.

From the cast to the staging and lighting, this panto is a beautiful production and it will certainly fill you with joy when you leave. It certainly helped to put us in the festive spirit.

The Twelve Days of Christmas sequence stood out for me and of course there is water and audience interaction during this scene. Jonny, Kai and Amanda do an absolutely fabulous job of playing this one out and it will have you in stitches.

Regent Theatre debutants Rory Sutherland (Peter Pan) and Hannah Everest (Wendy) shine and complete the sparkling performances of the rest of the cast.

Overall this was a fantastic night and we encourage you to go along and witness the panto yourself as you wont be disappointed.

The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan is at the Regent Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent until Saturday, January 31. Tickets can be booked online.

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