Swashbuckling fun at Grand Theatre on Panto Day as cast prepare for latest adventure Peter Pan

Flying into Blackpool fresh for pantomime season, Peter Pan is a swashbuckling adventure and a real festive treat.

Friday, 13th December 2019, 5:00 pm

Pantomime favourite Steve Royle returns in the role of pirate Smee and for 2019 he’ll be sharing the stage with former soap and West End Star Tom Lister as Captain Hook and Jack Heasman as Peter Pan.

Blackpool actress Christina Meehan returns to the Grand as Mrs Darling, with Rachel Grundy as Tinkerbell, Natalie Hollingsworth as Tiger Lilly and Ruth Betteridge as Wendy.

Comedy acrobats The Nitwits provide added entertainment as the Pirate Crew, and the Barbara Jackson Theatre Arts dancers will display their talents.

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This December’s pantomime, once again presented by Martin Dodd for UK Productions, promises to be a family show full of fun, fairy dust and pirates galore.

A spokesperson for the show said: “Set sail for Neverland and take on Captain Hook and prepare for out-of-this-world flying effects, galleons of laughter and the hungriest of crocodiles.

Audiences are guaranteed yet another year of spectacular sets, dazzling costumes and side-splitting comedy.”

Review by David Upton

Peter Pan at Blackpool Grand Theatre with Tom Lister and Steve Royle. Pictures: Martin Bostock
Peter Pan at Blackpool Grand Theatre with Tom Lister and Steve Royle. Pictures: Martin Bostock

No-one will easily forget the sight of J.M. Barrie’s child hero flying not just across the stage, but out of it and up into the theatre’s ‘gods’.

It’s the kind of theatrical magic usually reserved for Mary Poppins and underlines the scale and ambition here. It’s a show bursting with energy, and comedy, to the extent that sometimes the performances, and punchlines, roll over each other.

Just when the story’s all done along comes the novelty tumbling act, followed by the Song sheet inviting children from the audience up on stage.

The more stagestruck youngsters, from the local Barbara Jackson theatre school, ably fill the roles of John, Michael, the Lost Boys and junior chorus line, while several older graduates are amongst the dancers.

Peter Pan at Blackpool Grand Theatre. Pictures: Martin Bostock

Tom Lister and Steve Royle, as Captain Hook and Smee (or, occasionally, Brian May and Freddie Mercury!) have a developed double act that gets the best of the boos and the laughs, although this is a show that also shares the gags around the cast.

Jack Heasman is a pin-up, up and away Peter Pan; Christina Meehan, doubles up splendidly as Mrs Darling and Mermaid; Rachel Grundy skates along as a truculent Tinkerbell; Natalie Hollingworth makes a formidable Tiger Lily; and Ruth Betteridge a winsome Wendy.

Tristan Crabtree, Chris Gage and Lewis Pallett make up the pirate crew of Nitwits and come into their own as the trio of late arrival acrobats. No-one will feel short-changed by a show that showers its audience with abundant entertainment – and occasionally water.

Tickets are available for a number of daytime and evening performances at various price tickets including family and large group bookings.