2014 - The Revenge of Captain Hook

As Captain Hook himself acknowledges “The clue is in the title!”

In this swashbuckling Pantomime sequel to the Peter Pan Story, the Russell Players beautifully brought to life  JM Barrie’s familiar characters: The Darlings, the Indians, the Pirates, the crocodile, the fairies and, of course, the evil Captain Hook . The sets and costumes were sumptuous, with excellent attention to detail-including Peter Pan flying off into the stars and on until morning! Particular mention must be made of the fabulous crocodile costume designed and made by Hazel Gillingwater, which was splendidly brought to life by Margaret Stead.

Nigel Adams as the frustrated Captain Hook, foiled at every turn, swashed and buckled his menacing way through a rollicking evening of fun, songs, slapstick and mayhem. Supported (or rather hindered)) by his inept crew of pathetic pirates, all of Hook’s efforts to capture Peter Pan, kill the crocodile and fight off the Indians- impressively led by their Chief, Clive Walden-are inevitably thwarted.

The Chief, who is in need of a new wife, had to look no further than Dotty Darling, (played to perfection by Glyn Marshall), the delightfully distracted mother of Wendy and Michael, (the charming Poppy Ward and the “Woosteresque” Bill Roan).  Other stand out performances came from the delightful Lara Willis as Running Water, and Izzy Roan and Polly Devon as the fairies Tonkerbell and Trixiebell.

Peter Pan (Sara Mapleston) determined to save Neverland and the leading Pirates and Indian Squaws kept  the story line moving along at a cracking pace, with sound & lighting adding their magic together with Mags Broadhurst on the Piano - a joy to have live music.

The highlight of the evening was the slapstick “Bake Off” scene where J M Barrie met Mary Berry! Thomas Harris, as Bilges, together with the two” Powder Monkeys” (Alex Laskey and Daniel Harris) made a hilarious meal of cooking poisoned cakes for the Crocodile and the Indians in the Ship’s kitchen, with eggs, flour and water going everywhere except into the mixing bowl! Harry Devon as Pirate Spice, skilfully orchestrated the ever increasing chaos and kept up the momentum of this scene, as his messmates slipped and slid helplessly across the deck!

All in all, Director Maggie Uttley’s recipe for a highly entertaining evening of family fun, was done to perfection!                   Duncan Hamilton