Direction: Susan Wilson (written by Pinky Agnew & Lorae Parry)
Circa Theatre; Circa One (Nov 18 – Dec 23/Jan 2-13)
The Circa Theatre end of year panto has been a mainstay across the last year – however last year’s romp through Jack And The Beanstalk felt phoned in, stale. The actors doing their best with out-of-touch jokes and the music wasn’t strong. Not so this year as new blood is there on the stage and in the writing role. Pinky Agnew & Lorae Parry take Peter Pan for a pantomime stroll (with all the usual “he’s behind you” fun). Fun for young and old, packed houses so far – and it’ll like stay that way thanks to the strong work here from all involved.
Once again Gavin Rutherford is (and isn’t) a drag as our panto-dame – this time he’s named Katie Pie. S/he and daughter Xena Lily (Bronywn Turei) owe money to their landlord Captain Hook (a once-again fantastic Simon Leary). Cue jokes about damp, dank, Aro Valley flats and lots of Wellington spots are named and referenced on the video screen backdrop.
It’s a simple set, well utilised, as we are rollicked along to the Wellington harbour and – of course – to Neverland as Wendy (Camilla Beasley), Pater Pan (Cary Stackhouse) and The Lost Boys (Manuel Solomon and Ben Emerson) do their best to avoid Hook and his dogsbody Smee (Jeff Kingsford-Brown).
Madness, hilarity and plenty of music takes us there – and everywhere. Musical director/arranger Michael Nicholas Williams is there on stage, to the side of course and his wise selections never dominate – sound-wise – but give plenty of strong singing spots for the likes of Turei and Beasley in particular to own and help in providing the pulse of the show.
It’s such a lift in level from last year’s laziness – and was the very epitome of full-family fun. The kids in the audience even get the chance to participate, helping to revive Tinkerbell with their enthusiasm, handclaps and general happiness.
If you’re searching for end of year fun for the tribe then get along to this. The political humour (for adults) is funny – or at least fun (there’s always some intended cheese of course) and one or two slightly cheeky lines slip straight past the ears of the littlies and keep the adults grinning.