Peter Pan King’s Theatre

A staple ingredient of an Edinburgh Christmas is the King’s pantomime and this year the trio of Allan Stewart, Andy Gray and Grant Stott bring comedy and magic to the stage with their fresh, modern retelling of the classic Peter Pan. The show opens to a bright, bustling theatre set, comically portraying Edinburgh’s “New Toon”, where we find the Darling family and are introduced to the lovable Mr and Mrs Smee. Instantly the cast have the audience eating out of their hand with the rich array of Edinburgh banter and local comic asides. Grant Stott played up to his role of the evil “baddy” Captain Hook, relishing the boos of the audience, keeping both sides of the Capitol entertained with the inevitable Hibs - Hearts jibes. Next year’s referendum and the on-going tram saga were also fair game for laughs.

This year’s panto appeared recharged with energy and sparkle, perhaps missing since the great golden age of the Stanley Baxter era. The fairy dust well and truly sparkled from the eye-catching, vibrant stage sets, the upbeat, slick dance troop and the effective use of pyrotechnics and modern technology. Young and old could not fail to be scared and entranced in equal measure by the colossal, creepy croc.

Whilst the storyline does not remain true to JM Barrie’s story, the essence of the enchanting tale succeeds in captivating us with the feisty, fearless Tinkerbell (Shona White) battling bravely to defend the heroic and loyal Peter Pan (on this occasion ably played by Danny Rowe).

The audience sing-along to the panto song sheet was brought bang up to date with a modern twist as Allan Stewart went walk-about in the stalls, whilst Andy Gray roamed the audience on camera. Suddenly roles were reversed and the unsuspecting audience were on-screen stars. This brought great hilarity and humiliation in equal doses. There is nothing quite like laughing at someone else’s expense!

Two hours sped by as we booed and cheered the villains and heroes through their adventure aboard the Jolly Rodger, defeating Captain Hook along the way, until we saw the Darling children safely returned to their Edinburgh “New Toon hoose”.

Lindsay Hart