Review: The Adventures of Peter Pan, Manchester Opera House 10-31st December 2022

Christmas wouldn’t be the same without an evening at the theatre and I can’t think of anything better to get myself into the festive spirit than a night at the panto. After being enthralled with the top notch production of Aladdin last year at the Manchester Opera House I couldn’t wait to return to see The Adventures of Peter Pan.

Cast of Peter Pan, Manchester Opera House
Cast of Peter Pan, Manchester Opera House

Based on the story by J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan tells the adventurous story of a free spirited and mischievous young boy who is able to fly but never grows up. However, the Neverland waterfalls start to run out of pixie dust preventing Peter from flying so he enlists the help of his friend Wendy but Captan Hook has other ideas.

Tink, the flying fairy Peter Pan
Tink, the flying fairy

From the moment the curtain is raised the fast moving performance took us on a spectacular journey to Neverland with a flying fairy floating high above the stage. The opening set was fast paced and featured singing and dancing to get the audience clapping along right from the word go.

Captain Hook, Peter Pan
Captain Hook

Making his pantomime debut this year and taking the leading role as the villain Captain Hook is Jason Manford. He’s one of the funniest comedians around as well as being a talented actor so my expectations were very high. Born and bred in Salford, he still lives locally in neighbouring Stockport. On coming onto stage he received a rapturous welcome from the packed audience as he’s so popular. He explained that as he’d never played a baddie before he’d got himself a copy of ‘Baddies for Dummies’ reading out short excerpts and getting the audience to practice their boo-ing techniques which was great fun.

Smee, Peter Pan
Smee, Peter Pan

Captain Hook’s sidekick for the adventure in Neverland is comedian and impressionist Ben Nickless. He’s an Opera House pantomime favourite, returning for his fourth panto here in Manchester. This year he’s taken on the role of Smee and with his boundless energy, split second timings and cheeky antics he’s a joy to watch. He entertained us with a hilarious tongue in cheek political rap and paired with Jason Manford I don’t think I’d laughed so much for a long time. An audience cam with a screen on stage was so funny to view as it scanned the theatre for possible baddies and had everyone in stitches especially when it picked out likely candidates.

Wendy and Captain Hook
Wendy and Captain Hook

Completing the leading roles are musical theatre stars Jessica Croll as Wendy, Samara Casteallo as Tink and Ross Carpenter as Peter Pan. They contributed to the show exceptionally well with their superb acting and singing. It was also a welcome surprise to discover that Jason Manford’s vocals were of such a high standard, particularly in his rendition of ‘Cry me a river’, making him a true all-round performer.

Wendy and Peter Pan
Wendy and Peter Pan

With stunning sets, dazzling costumes and a barrel-load of laughter lasting over two hours, we were taken on a swashbuckling trip to Neverland like never before! No expense had been spared with special effects including a giant snapping crocodile protruding out from the stage and a flying Tink and Peter Pan. Children were enthralled too with the traditional panto boos and hisses and the ‘Oh yes it is’ and ‘Oh no it isn’t’ interactions with Smee and Captain Hook. The addition of the Acromaniacs, a gymnastic team playing the Lost Boys was spectacular with their precision timing and fun and games with Smee. By the time the finale came around everyone in the packed audience were up on their feet applauding and singing along with a grin on their faces not wanting the performance to end.

The cast of Peter Pan
The cast of Peter Pan

For the final song Jason Manford (aka Captain Hook) invited everyone to get their phones out to take home memories of the evening. We left in such a happy mood and I could overhear everyone around me enthusing about their wonderful night at the panto. Verdict: superb entertainment for the whole family

Finale of Peter Pan
Finale of Peter Pan

If, reading this, you’ve been inspired to enjoy the performance too, then why not join Peter Pan as he sets sail on this brand-new adventure. The production continues until 31st December and I defy anyone attending not to enjoy a sensational, uplifting performance sprinkled with laughter, singing and dancing.

Ticket Details: Peter Pan, Manchester Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester 10-31st December 2022.

I was invited as a guest to the press night performance and as always, all views and opinions are entirely my own.

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28 thoughts on “Review: The Adventures of Peter Pan, Manchester Opera House 10-31st December 2022

  1. I love these shows that take you back to your childhood … and this one looks like it’s tons of fun for both kids and adults! And yes, like most of your readers here, I’m also impressed with the lovely costumes!

    Like

  2. A little different from your travel posts, but I thoroughly enjoyed it all the same! I’ve not really one for the theatre, but I can tell that you had a fun time watching Peter Pan in town. Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season with good cheer!

    Liked by 1 person

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