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Review: Books, Theatre, Albums, Movies and Gigs

Peter Pan

Liverpool Empire
December 11 – January 3

Author: J.M. Barrie adapted by Eric Potts
Director: John Bishop
Choreographer: Lee Kelly
Producer: First Family Entertainment
Cast Includes: Henry Winkler, Natasha Hamilton, Les Dennis, Nikki Davis-Jones,
Daniel Taylor, Ben Goffe, Jessica Hill.

Running Time: 2 hrs 40 mins.


Promotional poster for Peter Pan starring Henry Winkler, Les Dennis and Natasha Hamilton


Henry Winkler – AKA “The Fonz” – is without doubt a hero for many a forty-something male, so to see him on stage in Liverpool is something of a thrill, it has to be said. As Captain Hook in Peter Pan, he is as mean and nasty as you’d hope, but also as stylish – not to say “cool” – as you’d wish.

Yet it is Liverpool’s own Les Dennis – how weird is it to mention Les Dennis in the same review as The Fonz, by the way? – who makes this pantomime what it is and especially in a second half which sees the whole show burst into life after something of a lacklustre start.


Dennis has Damedom off to a tee and never lets up with the comedy, interspersing it all with some easily recognisable impressions that are his stock in trade. Backed ably by Daniel Taylor as Smee, the pair are the fuse that sets the firework alight.

Former Atomic Kitten Natasha Hamilton is a passable Pan, though perhaps the wires from which she hangs rather than flies could be a little less obtrusive, whereas in Nikki Davis-Jones as Wendy Darling, she has competition in the singing stakes.

The sets are big and bright – though on occasion some are a little out of place – Lee Kelly’s choreography is spellbinding and the costumes are a rainbow splash of colour.

Yet during the first half everything feels flat; a fact exemplified by the entrance of Hook at which barely a murmur of dissent is heard.  For one of the biggest, baddest baddies in Pantoland this lack of reaction can’t be good and without doubt it is Dennis who saves the day.

In the end, Peter Pan is a jolly night out but it might well have been made truly memorable if a little more oomph had been added to the magic dust at the outset.

Photos © Mark McNulty 2009

Henry Winkler as Captain Hook in Peter Pan - Liverpool 2009 Les Dennis and Henry Winkler Natasha Hamilton

Chris High, Helen and The Fonz.


Click here to view details and book for the Liverpool Empire Theatre



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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