The festive season isn’t complete without a visit to a pantomime. And likewise the pantomime at Bradford Alhambra wouldn’t be complete without its stalwart comic of 18 years the inimitable Billy Pearce.

Just when you think it can’t possibly get any better QDOS have pulled out every stop to make Peter Pan one of its most spectacular, glitzy and glamorous pantomimes ever.

Peter Pan, produced as a pantomime is a difficult one to tackle. It is formidable task to combine its fairy-tale plot with traditional panto ethos and often it tends to veer towards the J.M.Barrie classic play forgetting what pantomime is all about. But this pantomime skilfully combines the two elements to perfection.

Billy Pearce “I’m a pensioner now” as Smee is his usual high-energy self, dispensing both physical comedy, belly laughs and gags that appeal and are loved by both tiny tots and bus pass holders. He whips up an amazing repartee with the audience who don’t need any prompting to join in the surfeit of audience participation.

As a tiny tot I was terrified by Captain Hook in the J M Barrie play and it took decades to get me back into the theatre to watch this particular work. However, Darren Day’s strong characterization of Captain Hook is far from terrifying in fact its beautifully wicked and has an appealing and comedic side to it that would frighten even the most nervous child. In fact Day is the ‘villain you love to hate’.

The hero of the piece Peter Pan played by ex S Club 7 singer Jon Lee is perfection to a tee. He captures the childlike but loveable innocence that the role requires and teams beautifully with Rosie O’Hare’s Wendy Darling.

Peter Pan has some wonderful supporting characters. Lucy Evans Tinker Bell is sassy, feisty but sweet whilst Marina Lawrence is an admirable  and believable Tiger Lily.As Mimi the Magical Mermaid, Charlie Hardwick is rather disappointing with little animation or  that pantomime magic shining through.

Stillie Dee’s choreography is electrifying and a technical dance triumph executed by a multi-talented ensemble who can only be described as amazing.

With over 100 years of pantomime behind them QDOS and The Alhambra have produced what can only be described a pure gold pantomime triumph that needs to be seen to be believed.

So if you haven’t already seen this wonderful production there’s still time for it runs until 29 January and is the perfect tonic for those post-Christmas blues.

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