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 Connecting professional and amateur theatre in Newbury, West Berkshire and beyond

Anvil - Peter Pan

8th December 2011 to 2nd January 2012.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Hooked on Peter Pan

Inspired casting of Waterloo Road actor as the boy who never grew up

Peter Pan, at The Anvil, Basingstoke, until January 2

Peter Pan, at The Anvil, Basingstoke, is a lavish, spectacular pantomime that had the audience 'hooked' from the very start. It is a vibrant swashbuckling entertainment for all the family and the enthusiastic audience absolutely loved it.

This classic story of the boy who was determined not to grow up and lived with his gang of Lost Boys in Neverland is given a modern twist in director Pete Hillier's vivacious high-energy production.

There were oodles of audience participation, stunning sets and costumes, great special effects with pyrotechnics, and some dashing sword fights in this high-quality production.

Amanda Salmon was terrific as the rollerskating chav Tinkerbell who was always causing mischief and Pete Hillier kept the momentum going as the cheerful Smee who quickly established a warm rapport with the audience.

The Darling family live in a large house in London, with the children looked after by their Nana, a loveable dog (Freddie Mason). The young children, confidently played by Reuben Overton as John and Benjamin Macken as Michael, are preparing for bed.

Zara Warren was the delightful Wendy who had trapped Peter's shadow in the window and eventually travels to Neverland to be the Lost Boys' mother.

There was some inspirational casting of Ben-Ryan Davies as Peter, who many will know from his appearance in Waterloo Road. He perfectly captured the playfulness and the 'spirit of adventure' of the character in an enthusiastic convincing performance.

The flying sequences were truly magic as the children soared over the London skyline and Peter glided above the audience to the back of the theatre.

Gary Turner was very impressive as the evil Captain Hook, who deliciously deserved all the boos from the audience as he sought revenge on poor Peter for losing his hand to the crocodile.

He was ably assisted by his motley pirate crew (Andy Rothwell, Paul Cox and Freddie Mason) who also gave an outstanding knockabout acrobatic display.

Shireen Jordan was convincing as Tiger Lily, with her band of Indian squaws but she is captured by Hook and tied up in Mermaids Lagoon to wait for the tide to rise and drown her.

Peter rescues her with the help of the Welsh Mermaid, a lovely cameo performance by Julia J Jordan who also plays Mrs Darling.

There was some sterling choreography (Sarah Louise Day) with good support from The Basingstoke Academy of Dancing arid Kelly Hopkins Theatre Arts and The Lost Boys, too many to mention by name, were having great fun in their roles.

With some lively well-chosen music under the direction of Martyn Cooper, this spirited Peter Pan is not to be missed.

Highly recommended.


There is a review in the Basingstoke Gazette ("a brilliant show for all the family... the standard of performance is exceptional... all the big star names in the world couldn’t have done a better job").

For more details

See The Anvil and Haymarket web site at