PANTO REVIEW: Peter Pan, Mansfield Palace Theatre

Peter Pan stars Jessica Punch as Peter Pan, Marc Baylis as Captain Hook, Adam Moss as Smee and Holly Atterton as Tinker Bell.

Peter Pan stars Jessica Punch as Peter Pan, Marc Baylis as Captain Hook, Adam Moss as Smee and Holly Atterton as Tinker Bell.

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“I have a few special things up my sleeves, especially for this audience.”

They are the words of Adam Moss, who plays Smee, in this year’s Palace Theatre programme.

And Moss not only had something in store for the unsuspecting audience, but also his girlfriend Karen Tomkins when he invited her on stage to propose to her.

Out came the engagement ring and down on bended knee Moss popped the question.

Of course, she said yes - oh yes she did - to loud cheers which rang around a packed Palace.

It set the seal on a wonderful, warm-hearted production which, I have to say, is arguably the best I’ve seen at the Leeming Street venue.

Aside from providing panto fans with a magical bonus towards the end of this slick production, Moss was brilliant as the lovable rogue Smee.

He delivered a fast-paced, energetic performance packed with rib-tickling one-liners - and was equally adept with a watergun, drenching yours truly during one madcap scene. I’ve just about forgiven him for that, but I guess that was one of the other ‘few special things’ up his sleeve for the audience.

He loves performing in Mansfield, and Mansfield panto fans love him.

It didn’t take much to get the audience on his side. From the off he had young and old shouting and screaming at him in true panto style.

But it wasn’t just Moss who was on the top of his game.

Marc Baylis - better known for his murderous role as Rob Donovan in Coronation Street - was brilliant as Captain Hook.

The boos rang out as he entered the fray to an X-Factor-style backdrop, with booming voiceover and shooting flames.

It was an entrance which set the tone for his evening, being roundly heckled every time he set foot on stage. But he was fantastic and his years of experience in theatre and on the small screen shone through.

Strong performances were also in evidence throughout.

Holly Atterton scaled the heights as roller-skate wearing Tinker Bell, while Jessica Punch was a hit as Peter Pan - especially so with Wendy, performed by the excellent Rosie Needham.

A special mention should also go to the Lost Boys, made up of youngsters from local groups - Academy of Dance, Expressions Performing Arts, Stagecoach and Stage Door Academy of Dance and Theatre - and the Village Children (Directions Theatre Arts and Syncopation). It’s fair to say there’s some real talent coming through the ranks in the performing arts scene locally.

All in all it was a panto which will be long remembered by the Palace faithful. A true classic.

From the opening scene to the very last, this was one of the most polished performances you will ever see on the Palace stage. The quality of the acting was simply superb.

The choreography was a masterclass and the singing - featuring modern-day hits from Bruno Mars to Justin Timberlake, plus the odd classic from Queen - provided something for all ages.

And what about the fantastically flamboyant costumes? They were classy as were the stunning flying scenes - including the amazing one over the London rooftops.

It was simply brilliant, oh yes it was!

- Peter Pan at the Palace Theatre runs until New Year’s Eve. For more information and ticket details, visit www.mansfieldpalace.co.uk or contact 01623 633133.