Cheeky chappy Jonathan Wilkes has returned to his home town for his 10th anniversary year in panto.
Peter Pan is playing at the Regent Theatre until January 3 and I got the chance to kick off my family Christmas with a trip to Hanley with the hubby, reluctant teenager and excitable five-year-old in tow.
Pantomime means so many things to different people. For me it’s always been to see my children’s faces as the glitter, music and magic unfolds around them.
Peter Pan surely delivered.
Jonny makes no secret of his love for the Potteries and the people love him back. Although we aren’t from Stoke, his charm and charisma is hard to ignore and I doubt a Hanley panto would ever be the same again without him.
He pulls his character of Smee off well, and his partnership with Christian Patterson as Captain Hook is truly special.
Christian has been his partner in crime for many years and for me, he is a panto genius. He was behind the script and responsible for the slapstick humour, fantastic one-liners and amazing Stoke-themed songs about oatcakes.
At an age when pantomime could seem uncool, my 13-year-old swapped an initial slumped seated position into laughing and giggling at the hidden innuendos, feeling chuffed he now understands them.
And it was this work of panto magic that, as a parent, Peter Pan scored a winner for me. As a mum who doesn’t want her own boys to grow up, to see his whole body change to absorb the magic of all things panto was truly special.
And as for my youngest, he literally didn’t stop dancing.
He was in awe of the whole cast, including talented local youngsters from Jonny’s own Wilkes Academy, whose singing, dancing and general acting abilities were right on the money.
Peter Pan flying across the stage, Tinkerbell’s roller skating ability and a snap happy crocodile is more than enough to keep a five-year-old talking all the way home and right until he fell asleep into a panto filled dreamworld.
If you haven’t booked a panto ticket yet I suggest you give it a thought. It is the perfect way to get you into the Christmas spirit and Peter Pan at the Regent Theatre is a panto that truly flies!
Tickets are available by calling the box office on 0844 871 7649