Shevonne Hunt hosts Kinderling Conversation every weekday at 12pm.
If you’ve never been to a pantomime, it's a mixture of singing, dancing and comedy with lots of audience interaction. It’s very popular in the UK where director Bonnie Lythgoe is from (who you may also know as a judge from the So You Think You Can Dance US TV show).
This version of Peter Pan has all of the above, with some really impressive dance numbers from the Lost Boys and the pirates. Smee (played by English actor Kev Orkian) completely steals the show. He’s the character who invites the audience in to the play, and he does it with such charm and panache you find yourself getting as excited as the kids.
It follows the typical story of Peter Pan, almost exactly the same as the Disney cartoon we’re all familiar with. Peter, played by ex-Hi-5 member Tim Maddren, hilariously flies across the stage throughout the production. Todd McKenney as Captain Hook is a no-brainer; he’s larger than life and having a lot of fun. The other stand out for me was NSW coastie Ksenia Zofi as Wendy. Her voice is strong and clear and seems to soar above the rest of the cast.
My one disappointment was the incongruous sexy back up dancers for Tiger Lily. They appear in sparkly bras and tiny skirts dancing provocatively for most of the show. I didn’t see the need for it. I have no problem with a bit of fantasy, but why are the Lost Boys cool hip hop dancers, and the all-male pirates funny and talented, but the “Indian” girls need to stick out their bums and boobs? It felt that among the natural, acceptable cheese of a good pantomime, there were some outdated ideas of what was funny and entertaining.
It was also long, and I wouldn’t recommend taking young ones to the evening performance (we got home at 11.30pm).
This sounds like a takedown, but it’s not meant to be. It was one element of an otherwise impressive show. I love my musicals, and I love when producers put on performances that are aimed at creating a loud and raucous environment where kids can be kids.
A good performance for children is one where they are actively engaged, and my daughter was definitely that for the whole show.
It was a bit of fun, though perhaps I just need to explain to my daughter why girls can be great hip hop dancers too.
Venue: State Theatre, 49 Market Street, Sydney
Dates: 7 - 16 July
Tickets: $62.75 – $77.75 (Family $281.00)
Bookings: ticketmaster.com.au | 1300 139 588
Venue: Comedy Theatre, 240 Exhibition Street, Melbourne
Dates: 21 – 30 July
Tickets: $79.95 – $59.95
Bookings: ticketmaster.com.au | 1300 11 10 11
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