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Peter Pan, The Alhambra, Bradford

Published by: GRAHAM CLARK on 27th Dec 2016 | View all blogs by GRAHAM CLARK

The Bradford pantomime is always the jewel in the crown of pantos and this year is no exception.    With a huge crocodile on stage, a talking parrot and enough jokes to last you into the New Year it can only be pantomime time again.

Appearing in the Bradford panto for the 18th time, Yorkshire comedian Billy Pearce is becoming part of the fixture and fittings of the Alhambra. He makes his arrival on stage via a bike that descends from the sky then goes into his regular routine. "I'm Smee this year" he jokes to the audience.  Just when you think that he is going to do a re run of his past jokes and it will all be a case of déjà vu things take a huge turn for the better when he meets Captain Hook played by Darren Day.

I wasn't expecting Day to be this good but he played Captain Hook with a menacing charm, with a cockney accent and a devilish smile he and Pearce made a great double act with their lines bouncing off each other. It is said that off the stage they are good friends and you could see that in this spectacular show as the chemistry between the two was very natural. Together they had some of the best scenes and the best lines of the night.

Ex S Club 7 member Jon Lee played Peter Pan although for me he could have been in the show a lot more than he was, also I've never seen Peter Pan with tattoos on his arms, it might have been a better idea to have his arms fully covered up, mind you, if you are 6 years old and enjoying the show, it does not matter.

Charlie Hardwick best remembered for her role as Val Pollard in Emmerdale was all sweetness as Mimi, the Magical Mermaid.  She sang a rousing version of the Jess Glynne hit, Hold My Hand which also featured the legendary Bradford Sunbeams. The young dancers are a tradition of the Bradford panto that goes back over 50 years.

Lucy Evans was all innocence and magic as Tinker Bell whilst Marina Lawrence Mahrra was making her professional debut as Tiger Lily. Her version of the Clean Bandit hit, Rather Be was an unexpected surprise. It was not all new songs, He Had It Coming from the musical Chicago was cleverly slotted into the show.

The special effects had everyone at the edge of their seats with a brilliant 3D scene where you had to wear special glasses. "Return them when you leave the theatre, we lost 500 last week, there's probably a bloke selling them on Heckmondwike market" jokes Pearce.

The 12 Days of Christmas scene was a scream, each time they perform it I'm sure it will be different but you can imagine the fun they had doing it in rehearsals. 

It was refreshing to see all the actors interacting with each other: all were equal too, sometimes you get a big name in the show and it all revolves around them and they just slot their regular act into the panto but the Bradford one is a joint effort from all involved.

It might be set in Neverland but this was a night spent in Wonderland. It will be hard to top this next year but I am sure that they will. Superb.

Runs until Sunday 29 January 2017

Telephone: 01274 432000



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