Peter Pan, Theatre Review. Epstein Theatre, Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10

Cast: Dane Bowers, Claire Simmo, Lewis Pryor, Joanne Harper, Michael Chapman, Georgia Austin, Chris Barton, Eleiyah Navis, Adam Coyne, Alliyah Hennessey, Libby Sunter, Faye Keating, Rachel Heron, Libby Walker, Liv Baccino, Beth Baccino, Jacob Robinson.

Humanity needs more people who see the world through the same eyes, the same clarity of vision that author and playwright J.M. Barrie did when he created the characters of Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Wendy Darling and Tinker Bell, perhaps then it might not be so centred on greed and destruction. Instead, as is always hoped for at this time of year, the pull of being decent, of holding out a hand to a fallen lost boy or fellow darling, is the right way to be. It is an ideal, of being brave in a world of adults, cutlasses and poison, of listening to your heart, of believing and one that Peter Pan flies high.

Peter Pan represents arguably a moment of absolute high praise for both Michael Chapman and Lewis Pryor that is much deserved. For the writer, Mr. Chapman, this particular show should be considered the finest he has yet placed down and offered to the people of Liverpool. In a career which has already been one of much adored pantomimes and talked of with great fondness across the board, this is a pinnacle of success, of jokes and of capturing a heart in a story that is truly made for the child in us all.

Lewis Pryor continues to amaze, a man to whom the Epstein stage has perhaps been his nursing ground, his shelter, his playground and now his fiefdom, the island of lost boys’ leader. Working alongside the aforementioned Michael Chapman has honed Mr. Pryor’s talent for comedy and with it, a certain look that also makes the audience know they are in safe hands. It is a rare and precious candle to hold up to an actor, comedy in his veins but also the leading man appeal, to carry off the hopes in a crowd’s Christmas expectations is daunting; it is with grace and style that Lewis Pryor achieves this.

With wonderful performances by Dane Bowers, who really embraced the idea of Peter Pan’s adult nemesis Captain Hook and was in many ways a revelation, the enchanting Claire Simmo, Joanne Harper and Georgia Austin whose voices soared with so much charm and magnetism during the show and to Chris Barton who once again steals the show as the side kick/henchman to the panto villain; this is a treat of a show this Christmas, one to really get your hooks into, it beats Smee how you can contemplate a night out with the family without seeing Peter Pan at the Epstein.

Ian D. Hall