I was expecting a frosty reception at the Town Hall on Tuesday evening but instead found the hottest ticket in town.
A few hours before curtain up for the ‘Peter Pan – A Musical Adventure’ show by the Big Bad Wolf Children’s Theatre Company I was informed the venue’s heating was on the blink.
However, I needn’t have worried as the body heat from the packed opening night crowd, an energetic cast and two torpedo-shaped Arcotherm temporary heaters generated enough warmth for me to enjoy the spectacle immensely.
The company’s youngsters and crew bring J.M. Barrie’s timeless tale to life wonderfully through a mix of colourful costumes, astute acting and catchy tunes sung with feeling and, more importantly, in good voice.
Ruaraidh Blackwood’s dialogue as Peter Pan was crisp and confident and his bouncy energy encapsulated the spirit of ‘The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up’.
His dastardly nemesis Captain Hook was played dastardly well by Ryan Young and showed effortless dastardliness, reminding me of Nathan Lane’s producer in the 2005 remake of ‘The Producers’ in both looks and cunning. He also brought a few laughs as the hapless Mr Darling.
I never tire of hearing words and phrases like ‘nincompoop’, ‘tomfoolery’ and ‘bless my boots and braces’.
Hannah Gillies seems as if she was born to play the role of Wendy Darling with the perfect amount of innocence and presence throughout an unwavering and discerning performance.
Lewis Dawson was hilarious as Hook’s cowardly sidekick Smee, one of the Pirates, although his Cornish pirate accent was a bit dodgy. Nevertheless, he should be pleased with his contribution.
One thing I loved about the show was that the supporting cast was never on the periphery. When the main characters were doing their thing, those in and around the edges didn’t drop off which added meat to the scenes.
There is also a few diamonds to mention whom the audience loved. Young Holly Smith as Tootles, one of the Lost Boys, was as fearless as a street-smart William Wallace and bristled with attitude. Absolutely brilliant.
Jasmin ‘Hey how are ya!’ Milne who played Tiger Lilly, leader of the Indian Braves, was simply magnificent for someone so young. She oozed confidence and mischief and was a force to be reckoned with.
And how could I forget the super-cute dog Holly who played Nana. She’s a labradoodle who can bark on command and got more than a few ahhhhs and chuckles.
Choreography for the dance and songs was pretty good too, again the whole cast came together brilliantly for the numbers. Rebecca Harris’s solo of ‘Just Beyond The Stars’ was also very touching.
The soothing Amber Smith narrates parts of the story from the side while scenes involving Tinkerbell (Millie Wright) and the children flying are done very well using some sort of green screen technology.
At one point, a young boy behind me was so engrossed in the storyline when Peter was sleeping and Hook was lurking he started yelling, “Peter! Peter!”. When his giggling parents told him to “Shh!”, he replied incredulously, “I’m trying to wake Peter up!”. Local am-dram at its best. Superb!
If you like the Peter Pan story, I’ve no doubt Big Bad Wolf’s production will have you hooked.
The show runs until Saturday with evening shows at 7 p.m. and an additional Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. For tickets, priced £10, £8 concession, call the Steeple box office on (01324) 506850.
Peter Pan: Ruaraidh Blackwood
Wendy Darling: Hannah Gillies
John Darling: Callum Allan
Michael Darling: Robbie Allan
Mr Darling/Captain Hook: Ryan Young
Mrs Darling: Rebecca Harris
Smee: Lewis Dawson
Storyteller: Amber Smith
Tiger Lilly: Jasmin Milne
Tootles: Holly Smith
Nibs: Jennifer Anderson
Curly: Abby Renwick
Slightly: Caitlyn Malloy
1st twin: Jordan Dewar
2nd twin: Ian Williamson
Gentleman Starkey: Sarah Nisbet
Lucy Smith: Cecco
Cookson: Alexandra Kerr
Mullins: Chloe Kennedy
Bill Jukes: Hannah Fairbairn
Skylights: Heather Watkins
Noodler: Kirsty Coleman
Tinkerbell: Millie Wright
Liza: Eva Caie
Newspaper boy: Josh Stewart
John Darling (understudy): Hannah McGowan
Amy Allan; Kayleigh Alston; Eilidh Black; Rowan Brockie; Daisy Campbell; Abi Clark; Katie Craigen; Layla Crombie; Ella Dowell; Holly Findlay; Jennifer Hall; Vicky Hall; Aidan Harland; Lisa Keeley; Sophie Kennedy; Jessie Kidd; Roni Louden; Eve Mallon; Alexandra Melville; Ceara McAteer; Hannah McGowan; Eve Pearson; Kara Russell; Josh Stewart; Kristen White.
Ben Anderson; Claudia Anderson; Kirstin Bell; Megan Broadley; Eva Caie; Cleo Campbell; Rebecca Doherty; Mia Findlay; Amy Gallacher; Victoria Gillies; Renee Gillon; Rebecca Hall; Rebecca Harris; Isla Houston; Miya Johnston; Iona Kelly; Kai Mungall; Holly McDonald; Lucy McMullan; Abbie Stewart; Shelby Walker; Sarah Williamson; Millie Wright.
Kayleigh Alston; Daisy Campbell; Jennifer Hall; Vicky Hall; Lisa Keeley; Sophie Kennedy; Roni Louden; Ceara McAteer.
Kirstin Bell; Cleo Campbell; Rebecca Doherty; Mia Findlay; Victoria Gillies; Renee Gillon; Rebecca Hall; Lucy McMullan; Shelby Walker; Millie Wright.
Claudia Anderson; Amy Allan; Daisy Campbell; Renee Gillon; Vicky Hall; Sophie Kennedy; Alexandra Kerr; Jessie Kidd; Heather Watkins.