Writer: JM Barrie
Reviewer: Paul Downham
There have been a number of different productions of Peter Pan in the various theatres of Manchester over the past few years however, this example featuring the Russian All Stars is unlike all before. Take the iconic story of Peter Pan; add huge amounts of sparkle and then put the whole thing on ice and you get an entertaining night of fun for children of all ages.
The stage at the Palace Theatre has been transformed into an ice arena for the duration of the show, which in itself is an impressive feat of engineering. Despite the apparent small ice surface the 23 strong company make it look akin to the size of any international rink.
Fairy dust has been sprinkled over this production with an ingeniously simple but striking set and costumes providing a perfect background for the skating stars to shine.
The whole evening is overseen by JM Barrie himself as he tirelessly writes the story of Peter Pan from his desk in the corner of the stage. Buccaneer Bob provides a reassuring local narrative to the action on the ice played in Manchester by Rachel Burke-Davies from the Capital FM Breakfast Show. Her narrative brings a slight pantomime feel to the evening complete with obligatory corny jokes.
The beauty of this production is the exquisite skating on show from a team of Russian All Stars including International Champions as they glide effortlessly around the stage. There is something about the show being on ice that makes the story all the more magical. The fight scenes between Peter Pan and Captain Hook are intricately choreographed and leave you breathless at points.
As the second act begins, not content with just skating, circus acts are utilised including rope tricks and fire juggling which went down particularly well with the younger members of the audience. Although as in every production of this tale, the crocodile steals the show!
If you were to pick out any negatives from the show it is that at points the scene changes look a little disjointed and cumbersome, each one accompanied by a blackout. This is unnecessary and detracts from the cleverness of the set. In addition the pre recorded music is at times a little loud; however this could just be down to first night teething problems.