The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan at the Regent Theatre in Stoke wasn't quite the Christmas spectacular I was expecting.
Being very much a panto based on comedy, was the saving grace of the production and by far its strongest point. It featured lots of audience participation which is what you would expect from a pantomime, and for some, is the reason why they come.
The show featured Jonathan Wilkes, a well-loved staple of panto who the audience is very fond of. With this being his eighteenth year in pantomime at The Regent Theatre in Stoke, it was really this artist who held the show together. The audience got behind him throughout as a true panto pro who, in my opinion, deserved better alongside his co-stars, who I think worked well with what they had.
This was where the positives ended for me.
The set was a major distraction as it wasn’t spectacular, was rather lacklustre, and simply looked tired. It would have been much better with brand new staging which would have helped to bring the story more to life. For a regional theatre, I did expect better. It lacked heart and emotion and struggled to convey the story of Peter Pan. It’s a bland production that didn’t transport me to Neverland, which is disappointing considering the show stars very talented performers. Sadly the story just didn’t flow. There’s only one main special effect and it’s one of those 'if you blink you miss it'. Still a great feature, but did leave me wanting more.
Instead of being wowed by the staging, I was sitting in my seat thinking this is an amateur production with a professional cast. As a whole, it was meant to be a professional production, but it didn’t feel this way. The show doesn’t feature much music and most soundtracks that were used became repetitive. This pantomime focussed more on Jonathan Wilkes who played Mr. Smee and Kai Owen who played Captain Hook, more than its main character Peter Pan, who I felt was sidelined as he didn’t feature very often. With only a bit of flying coming in towards the end of act two, this could have happened much sooner than it did because it left me wondering whether it was ever going to happen.
Elements of the traditional story were embellished, and with the show being named The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan, it wasn’t exactly an adventure of the well-loved story. The show did start to become flat and act one went incredibly quickly, not that long into the show it cut to an interval.
As far as pantomimes go, it didn't quite deliver. However, for a family-friendly evening in Stoke, it was still fun and a somewhat enjoyable evening at the theatre with a festive atmosphere.
If you’re considering seeing this pantomime, tickets start from £13 and can be found here.