Peter Pan & Tinkerbell

Lynne Lancaster

Excellent family fare for all ages.
Peter Pan & Tinkerbell

Captain James Hook played by Todd McKenney. Photograph via State Theatre.

Break out the fairy dust – this is wonderful fun for the family and young children will love it.

Bonnie Lythgoe has been staging pantos in the USA and UK for a number of years. Recognised for her creativity and involvement in global television hits ‘American Idol’ and ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ and most recently ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’.

Lythgoe is committed to bringing affordable theatre to families across Australia by presenting fun, musical theatre that the whole family can enjoy. This is the fourth panto Lythgoe has toured around Australia. In the UK the traditional Christmas Pantomime is a much loved institution and has been for centuries.

Peter Pan & Tinkerbell is a boisterous combination of song, slapstick, dance – it is an enchanting fairytale with splendid special effects and naughty double entendre. The audience is encouraged to participate, by cheering on the hero, booing the villain (note the green lighting) clapping and singing or otherwise becoming involved the story.

The sets designs and lighting are splendid and some of the special effects and the flying are indeed quite magical. This production is traditional English panto in style but with contemporary music and dance (breakdance and hip hop for example). There is a great ‘dance off’ between the Lost Boys and the Pirates at one point in Act2. 

In the eponymous role of Peter Pan Tim Maddren (of ‘Hi 5’, who has also been in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Dream Lover and The Adams Family) is terrific, swaggering, somewhat arrogant and cocksure and cheeky but delightful, insisting he doesn’t want to grow up. The sword fight between him and Hook is tightly choreographed and intense. 

Tinkerbell the roller skating fairy was enchantingly played by Jaime Hadwen, who has a couple of powerful songs.

Smee the pirate (Kev Orkian imported from the UK) cajoles the audience into participation at various points throughout the show. His gang of Pirates (Matt Geronimi, Michael Stone, Rick Pragnell and Jay Johns) are a totally silly bunch. However they are most impressively athletic dancers and tumblers with great comic timing. In traditional panto style there is lots of silly word play and twisting and repetition and some slapstick comedy as well and fierce audience competition –the audience loved them and roared with laughter.

Aussie theatre legend Todd McKenney has marvellous fun hogging the limelight as Captain James Hook, full of devilish scheming mischief and villainy. His first entrance is spectacularly magnificent and his black and silver opulent costume is glorious. Continuing the theme of fathers (or lack of them) we learn that Captain Hook takes after his father. The crocodile by the way was wonderful.

The Lost Boys are delightfully presented and they have a spectacular slithery first entrance on hover boards – creeping up upon the Pirates like crocodiles.

Tiger Lily (Robyn Loau of the band Girlfriend and on TV Wildside and All Saints) is sultry and sinuous a slinky Indian princess.

Ksenia Zofi as young Wendy was excellent, poised and refined, warm and funny.

Katrina Retallick, fresh from wowing us in Big Fish is delightful as a haunted, loving Mrs Darling and somewhat ditzy Mimi the Mermaid (the reworked Kylie Minogue 'Better The Devil You Know' with her mermaid friends was most enjoyable).

A most fun night out and the multi-talented cast is most impressive. The children in the audience loved it. Great family entertainment.  

Rating: 3 ½ stars out of 5

Peter Pan & Tinkerbell 

Bonnie Lythgoe Productions presents 
Director Bonnie Lythgoe 
Sydney Venue: State Theatre
Dates: 7  - 16 July   

What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author

Lynne Lancaster is a Sydney based arts writer who has previously worked for Ticketek, Tickemaster and the Sydney Theatre Company. She has an MA in Theatre from UNSW, and when living in the UK completed the dance criticism course at Sadlers Wells, linked in with Chichester University.