By Kelly Gavaghan
The Peter Pan panto at the Chrysalis Theatre has been described as the ‘Best Value Panto in MK’ this Christmas and we heartily agree!
The brilliant cast included a mixture of professional actors and actresses, TV gameshow and talent show performers and were supported by Rollason Stage School, The Rebecca Mavie Academy of Dance and last but not least, 90s legend, Mr Blobby.
The inaugural show took a few minutes for the cast to get warmed up but as soon as Peter Pan, played by Lucy Rollason flew onto the set the magic started to happen. Lucy soon belted out her first number whilst flying through a galaxy of stars, the effects of which were really enchanting. Lucy really is a great character actress and was perfectly cast as the principal boy bringing charming cheeky energy to the show.
Mr Smee was played by Steve Hewlett, one of the UK's top comedy ventriloquists and finalist in Britain’s Got Talent whose ventriloquism skills and comedy timing were absolutely flawless. The highlight of his performance though really came at the end when he invited 3 small children onto the stage to participate in a game and chaos erupted as the sugar hyped-up kids ran amok while everyone in the audience was crying with hysterics!!!
Described by Time Out London as ‘Britain’s Best Panto Villain’, CJ de Mooi (BBC Eggheads) lived up to this high praise by being mean, scary, and everything a baddie should be who had the crowd hissing and booing every time he appeared.
"The standout star of the show was the bright, brash, bawdy and brassy Pantomime Dame, Mrs Smee!"
But! You can’t have a panto without a pantomime Dame and for me the standout star of the show was the bright, brash, bawdy and brassy, Mrs Smee played BRILLIANTLY by Luke Byeford. He really is one of the best Pantomime Dames I’ve ever seen. As soon as Mrs Smee burst onto the stage the crowd were captivated by her BIG personality and eccentric costumes as she delivered a real rollercoaster of a performance. Luke proved himself as a fantastic all-rounder – a great comedy actor who can hold his own as a singer and dancer – he really led from the front with incredible gusto. I loved his high energy dance routines with the camp and charismatic Goliath played by Jono Andrews who could also shimmy with style.
The main girl’s roles included Wendy played by Cara Bo, the lovely Tinkerbell played by Katie Phizacklea, Tiger Lily played by Lillia Grace and Nancy played by Eveey Ruth all of whom have been performing from a very young age, which showed in their beautiful singing and polished performances.
The main dancers in the show included Phoebe Boyd, Tegan Ferry, Millie Leonard with Macy Hodgson as the Dance Captain who wowed the audience with their wonderful ballet and dance routines - my favourite being Mrs Smee’s Copacabana number where the girls performed as dazzling Las Vegas showgirls. All of the child dancers and actors did so incredibly well and must be thrilled to bits to be able to perform alongside professional actors; an experience I am certain they will never forget.
"We went to bed laughing and woke up still giggling"
While I was never a fan of Mr Blobby back in the 90s I have to say I did chuckle along with the rest of the audience every time he appeared on stage and proceeded to bowl over many of the cast, crash into the set and fall down the stairs. His presence was utterly ridiculous but that’s what panto is all about, right?
We really loved everything about this show; the costumes, the cast, the choreography, the special effects, the sets and the script and it really does have everything that you could possibly want from a panto. There’s even an adorable Cockapoo who plays Fish, the mischievous Pirate dog!
Richard and I haven’t been to the panto in YEARS but we both thoroughly enjoyed this one, so much so that we went to bed laughing and woke up still giggling. We thoroughly recommend it so, if you go to see one panto this Christmas, go and see Peter Pan at The Chrysalis Theatre, Milton Keynes.
Tickets - £19.95
Family Ticket (4 People) - £65.00
*Wednesday Matinees - £9.95
**Schools Performances – Contact theatre for a group rate
***Relaxed performances for those with different needs