Regent Panto Review: Jonny Flies High Again!

Photo courtesy of Claralou Photography

There’s certain things to indicate that it’s the festive season; the first Christmas Ad, ‘I’m A Celebrity’ concluding, your first mince pie and, in our household, its the first time we hear Jonathan Wilkes run on and say ‘Ay Up Me Ducks’.

Peter Pan opened last night at The Regent to a high-flying start of a run that will last until the end of the year. Peter (Rory Sutherland) finds himself without the ability to fly and the enchanted waterfall with fairy dust drying up, Peter, Smee (Jonathan Wilkes), Tinkerbell (Amanda Coutts) and Wendy (Hannah Everest) must journey to return the lost boys and save the waterfall, all whilst dealing with the particularly tricky Captain Hook (Kai Owen).

The glitz and glamour was evident immediately from the get-go with a fantastically colourful opening number, complete with full dance ensemble, some beautiful backdrops and scenery and pyrotechnics. Panto was back at The Regent and everyone loved it. Jonny was, as ever, a stalwart. He loves the Stoke audience and the Stoke audience love him. Despite Christian Patterson not available for the production this time, having announced earlier in the year that he was offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with an Oscar winning director, Kai Owen was Jonny’s comedic partner, having wowed audiences last year.

Jonny and Kai were responsible for some of the night’s most funny moments, with (not ruining any surprises), their brilliant Elvis duet routine, the story from the bottom of the sea and the twelve days of Christmas, amongst others. Their chemistry evident and their laughter at one another, infectious.

Amanda Coutts and Hannah Everest were marvellous as Tinkerbell and Wendy, their singing was absolutely fantastic and their harmonies during their duets were spot-on. Hannah, on roller skates for the majority of the performance used the space well and pirouetted with aplomb. Rory Sutherland played a solid role as Peter, both singing and acting as well as his aerial work.

The whole performance was high-energy from the start and never once relented on the action. The visual effects and the set was extremely impressive, especially the ending of the first half (sorry, no spoilers!). It all concluded with a standing ovation and Jonny and the cast looking on, clearly emotional and loving to be back at this fabulous venue.

Its a five star performance from start to finish. There’s thrills, laughs, jokes for the kids, jokes for mum’s and dads, singalongs, dancing and is as much a part of Christmas tradition as Turkey and tinsel.

Tickets for this show are still available, with several matinee performances. Get them here

Photo courtesy of Claralou Photography