Belfast Telegraph

Review: Peter Pan at the Grand Opera House - festive family fun as Queen May reigns supreme

Peter Pan runs at the Grand Opera House in Belfast until Sunday, January 14, 2018.

By Jackie Bell

Pantomime season has officially arrived in Belfast and the Grand Opera House's production of Peter Pan packs in everything required to ensure the kids - and grown ups - enjoy the festive fun.

If you were to write a panto check-list it would no doubt include: a fairytale story, a soap star appearance, a panto dame, a brilliantly over-the-top villain, cute kids, dancing, audience participation, silly jokes for the children, slightly risqué jokes for the adults, and a great big sing-a-long to top it all off.

It's been a winning formula for years and the Grand Opera House does not sway from tradition - resulting in a great family night out.

The story is the well-known tale of Peter Pan who flies Wendy Darling and her brothers John and Michael to Neverland where they meet the Lost Boys, Tinkerbell, and Tiger Lily, and encounter the evil Captain Hook and his Jolly Roger pirates.

The resulting story is a great laugh where the songs are catchy, the dancing is magnificent and the kids will quite simply love it - but what about the adults?

Well, luckily for Belfast, we have the hilarious May McFettridge in the role of May Smee who is not only entertaining for the children but also gives the older generations something to chuckle at, whether it be brexit, our Stormont MLAs or Carl Framption.

In her 28th consecutive Grand Opera House pantomime, May is an old hand at driving the festive fun and performs this role to perfection while collecting genuine belly-laughs from the crowd.

May is the true star of the show but is brilliantly supported by former Emmerdale and Coronation actress Claire King as Mimi the Magical Mermaid, Belfast comedian and actor Paddy Jenkins as Smee, and former Britain's Got Talent finalist Paul Burling as Starkey.

BGT fans may remember Burling's impressionist skills and it is a welcome addition to this pantomime tale, as he allows Ant and Dec, Alan Carr, Simon Cowell, Michael McIntyre, and Jeremy Clarkson to appear on the Belfast stage.

But while the big laughs and stage moments come from the older members of the cast, the younger performers are not to be overlooked, especially the group of little ones from the McMaster Stage School who take their moment to shine and amaze the audience with their talents.

But what is a pantomime without a villain to boo and hiss at?

Much like May, David Bedella commands the audience's attention as Captain Hook when he is on stage and is truly hilarious and terrifying in equal measure.

An unexpected element of the show was a trip underwater which was enjoyed in 3D and left many jumping from their seats - and it wasn't just the kids.

All in all, this Christmas panto is a great festive treat which goes above and beyond everything you could want from a fun night out with the family.

  • Tickets for Peter Pan at the Grand Opera House, Belfast range from £19.75 - £35.75. For more information, visit www.goh.co.uk

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