13 December 2014 to 11 January 2015
Reviewed by Claire Turner
My sister and I were very excited to be going to see Peter Pan at the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend-on-Sea – we are big kids at heart! We had decided to park on the seafront (which is free parking after 6pm) and walk up the many steps to the theatre – this was an easier way to enter the theatre rather than trying to find somewhere in the pay and display car parks. We collected our tickets at the ‘Box Hoffice’ (everything had been Hoffed as the panto stars David Hasselhoff), picked up a program and decided to get a drink at the bar to take in with us. Despite the foyer being very busy and no tables free to sit at we didn’t have to queue to get our drinks.
The atmosphere was very Christmassy and buzzing with excited children and grown-ups. We were seated in the balcony, 4 rows up and right in the middle – fantastic seats. The show was a little late starting as there were a lot of people still to take their seats. When the music started and the lights dimmed the audience started clapping and cheering.
It started in the nursery of Wendy, John and Michael with the maid and a wonderful Nana (the best panto dog ever). Peter Pan arrives with Tinkerbell and off they go to Neverland. It was full on, non-stop crazy madness and truly a wonderful pantomime!
Christopher Biggins plays a fantastic Mrs Smee and David Hasselhoff is a brilliant ‘Hoff the Hook’ – there are a few references to Strictly Come Dancing, Come Dine With Me, Baywatch and Knight Rider. One of this year’s biggest chart songs – ‘Happy’ by Pharell Williams sang by Peter Pan (Dickie Wood) featured and the audience were joining in and clapping along.
Wendy, Tinkerbell, Tiger Lily and the magical mermaid were great characters and the Pirates – well what can I say? – they were very well played! There was a lot of audience participation and I don’t think I stopped laughing throughout.
The jokes were geared to the adults and these were well received. The costumes were amazing and over the top – especially for Biggins. The children in the audience loved it when they could throw foam rocks at Captain Hoff The Hook and for me the scene that captivated me the most was Starkey’s (played by Steve Laister) 12 Foods of Christmas – this was very well written! It was epic and we were crying with laughter – based on the 12 days of Christmas and just Starkey & Mrs Smee on the stage with their props it was a scene of pure genius.
The children who played Michael and John were very very good actors and despite their young age were able to keep up with the rest of the cast.
My sister and I had a fantastic evening – I’m tempted to book tickets to take my husband in the New Year!! I could go on but this is definitely a must watch panto and I don’t want to give it all away. Prepare to be captivated, to sing along, to dance, to laugh and most of all have a truly wonderful evening with your family and friends.
It was a 5 star performance for me!
Tickets cost from £21.50 to £35.50, family tickets from £84 to £112 (plus £1.50 booking fee).
Peter Pan is at the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend until 4 January 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 01702 351135.
Cliffs Pavilion, Station Road, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS0 7RA | 01702 351135