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August 22nd - August 26th
Peter Pan’s enchanting world holds you in its spell. Meet all your favourites; Captain Hook, the Darlings, Nana, Tinkerbell, Lost Boys, Indians, Pirates. Make some new friends; the Nosey Neverbird, Planets, Water Sprites and Flame Dancers.
Starring West End and TV’s Billy Elliot, Eliott Hanna as Peter Pan and Phantom of the Opera’s Janet Cowley as Mrs Darling.
“Dazzling dance routines…show-stopping music” Newark Advisor
“Fast-paced, good family fun” Lancashire Evening Post
“Exciting family show!” Robin Duke Blackpool Gazette
Ticket price includes £1 contribution to our heritage fund.
You know that a production of Peter Pan is going to be a little different from the norm when it starts out more like a pantomime, as the first character on stage is the little known Neverbird from the original novel which, in this musical version of J M Barrie’s classic tale, brings an element of panto dame comedy (actually a very colourful bird) talking directly to the audience and passing the time chatting to them whilst the many scene changes are carried out behind the curtain.
As you’d expect, the show is quite spectacular and it has some flying sequences – flawlessly carried out – to keep the audience enthralled as Peter Pan (played by Elliot Hanna who has also played Billy Elliot in the West End and uses his dance skills to good effect here), Tinker Bell and Wendy arrive and depart through the open window of the children’s bedroom heading towards Neverland
Perhaps the most striking element of this production is the sheer size of the cast encompassing Pirates, Indians, the Lost Boys, etc. All of the ensemble roles and some the main ones such as Tinkerbell (or Tinks as Peter calls her) and the two Darling boys are played by children and throughout the show, there are extensive and quite complex dance routines all superbly performed. In fact, there are around 60 youngsters on stage who have learnt their routines, with some of those being replaced by another team in alternating performances (amongst those taking the shared roles are real life brothers Lochie and Raphael Reid and10 year old Chanel Fulton as Tinker Bell).
All of this is quite an amazing achievement for the production team, who had also to co-ordinate swashbuckling fight scenes, flying sequences, the singing and the very colourful costumes and lighting.
There are matinées and evening performances every day until Saturday with a final show on Sunday afternoon. Be aware though that the evening show starts at the earlier than usual time of 6.30pm and, at 2 hours 50 minutes including interval, it is quite long. That said, it kept the audience’s attention throughout and the rousing finale and curtain call were met with enthusiastic cheering and applause
We took our grandchildren to the Malvern Theatres pantomime last Christmas and loved it but I was very surprised and a little disappointed that this Peter Pan production was also like a pantomime rather than a musical play. It was very amateur and enjoyed by those who knew children in it, and it was also exceedingly long! Even the RSC or a west end production rarely goes over the golden hour for one Act. The part of Wendy was stunningly played by a very professional young actress and the professionals generally were a good standard, but the choreography was limited and depended on numbers to make it look good. We were also disappointed that the main character did not do more dancing as he had played Billy Elliot! So please ensure you are really a professional theatre Malvern and leave the amateur ones for the school stages. I cannot believe this production would be worthy of the west end, which is how we experience other excellent productions from Malvern Theatres.