Peter Pan - The Arena Spectacular (Review)

I recently attended the Motorpoint Arena Nottingham to see my first pantomime of the year, although it wasn't really advertised as a pantomime initially so I was actually quite disappointed. It was apart of a relatively new series of "The Arena Spectacular" and after hearing the good reviews of Elf last year, I thought I would get tickets this year for Peter Pan. 


The biggest selling point that the producers played upon was that Boy George was cast to play Captain Hook. Now I personally don't like the man, so this was actually not a selling point to me personally, but I felt I would give him the benefit of the doubt and I didn't hate that he was in it. I thought he actually played the character really well and I was surprised at how his voice suited the songs, however he was completely full of himself. He knew he was the star of the show and played on it in all the ways. He acted like he was better than everyone, even when he wasn't. 

Now the rest of the cast was pretty small. So much so that not even all the main characters from the story were included which I felt was a shame. I feel like they wasted their budget on Boy George and let the rest down. I actually couldn't stand the lead role of Peter Pan. I thought the actor was an annoying, child who tried far too hard. 

The part I was most excited for was the circus performances. It was described as having 50 members in the cast and I feel I saw barely ten at most. There were some acts with aerialists and stunts like climbing poles and balancing, but that was about it. The ones that we did see were very clever and well done, but I thought they would be more integrated into the show and not just acts on the side. The so-described cannon ball fight was simply just throwing bouncy balls at Hook's ship. I went back and looked at the advertisement and I don't remember ever seeing "a death-defying escape from a locked water tank" that was promised.

The worst parts massively overshadowed the best. My seat was a normal cost, advertised without viewing restrictions, yet I couldn't see half the stage because the curtains cut off a lot of it. The music was far too loud and you could barely hear the singing. The cast massively over did audience interaction. Each traditional pantomime word play went on for what felt like hours, instead of the few seconds of back and forth that was needed. There were a lot of poor jokes, based on political or vulgar content. They also had a drama school choir for some of the songs and honestly, they didn't really seem to know what they were doing when. They were often late and even sat right next to them - again not advertised - they were so quiet above the music. 

Overall, you've probably gathered I didn't enjoy the show. Personally, I won't be going to see a pantomime like show again in the arena as I just feel it's too big for the type of performance which is a real shame.