It’s hard to believe during all the years I have been attending theatre, I had never seen a pantomime. That all changed last week, and there is no better introduction to this silly, and fun brand of theatre than Ross Petty’s Peter Pan in Wonderland at the historic Elgin Theatre. Petty has been doing these family musicals for the past twenty years, and he has certainly perfected it. What a great introduction to theatre for children, as one is encouraged to participate, booing the villains and cheering for the hero. The show is also infused with loads of comedy for the adults with an abundance of topical humour and double entendres.
The play follows the panto formula made popular in England, combining fairy tales—in this case Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland, with no shortage of slick musical, and dance numbers, slap stick comedy, and cross dressing hilarity. Petty gets all sorts of funding which he recognizes in amusing commercials played on a screen between scenes. The sponsors enable him to have a fantastic set, gorgeous costumes, a flying Peter Pan, and top notch performers.
The entire cast was fantastic. Stand-outs for me were Steffi DiDomenicantonio as Wendy, Anthony Macpherson as the boy wonder Peter Pan, Eddie Glen as Tweedle Dum/Smee, the wonderfully hilarious Dan Cameroy as Tinkerbum, and Ross Petty playing the evil Captain Hook. Petty will be retiring from performing in the pantomimes after this year. You really do want to catch him in his final performance as he plays a positively delicious villain.
The supporting cast of singers, and dancers were fantastic. I was especially blown away by the spectacular moves of Lamar Johnson as the Mad Hatter. I was surprised to read in the program that he is a self-taught dancer. Johnson certainly has a gift.
Director Tracey Flye has put together a tremendously entertaining production. Choreographer Marc Kimelman shows off all the dancers’ strengths with exciting moves, and upbeat dance numbers. Michael Gianfranceso’s set, and costume design is stellar. It is a bright, fancy explosion of colours, and textures highlighted by Kimberly Purtell’s lighting design.
I absolutely loved this feel good show, and I definitely recommend it as fun, holiday entertainment. I guarantee you will leave the theatre feeling happy, and humming the show tunes. A truly great evening of theatre. I will definitely be making this an annual December tradition.
Don’t be late for your very important date! Peter Pan in Wonderland plays now through January 3, 2016. For schedule and tickets, please visit: http://rosspetty.com/tickets/calendar
The Elgin Theatre is located at the second star to the right, and straight on ’til morning at 189 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M5B 1M4
Google Maps: http://goo.gl/TcdnwL