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REVIEW: Audience came to believe in fairies and flying in Peter Pan

by Marie Male

ST. JACOBS - “I do believe in fairies. I do, I do.”

A wonderful spectacle, Peter Pan not only has the audience wanting to believe, but it also gives way to giggles and guffaws.

Santa Claus had better mind his Ps and Qs this year as this traditional Christmas pantomime is all about music, laughter and flying - without a sleigh.

The show, now playing at the St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre, is based on the play Peter Pan; or, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up (1904) by J.M. Barrie.

It tells the story of Peter Pan, an impetuous  boy who happens to fly, and his everlasting magical escapades on the island of Neverland. He leads the Lost Boys as  inspired by Barrie’s friendship with the Llewelyn Davies family and its orphaned brothers.

The show has the audience ready to believe in fairies. The pantomime version does stick to the story line, but permits carte blanche of diversion from it in the name of comedy and fun. Novelty and current affairs are randomly incorporated.

For example, Smee provides an appendage from the “second hand” shop for Hook, while Peter Pan shadow dances like Michael Jackson in Thriller. There is much audience interaction, and adults and children alike partake gleefully. However it is only the children who clamored to get on stage in a joyful sequence with Smee.

In the leading roles are several Drayton Entertainment favourites. Jonny Wexler, sprightly as Peter Pan, may be remembered as Chad Danforth, of Disney’s High School Musical. He may also be recognized from the TV show The Doodlebops.

Like a happy Christmas tradition himself, Fred Stinson returns as Smee. His enthusiasm is engaging and the audience feels his kinship with the kids. Paul McQuillan, as the murderous crook, Captain Hook, channels a bit of Jack Sparrow and earns his boos dishonestly. The role of  Deliah the Cook was expanded to  provide a perfect role for Drayton favourite Keith Savage to embellish wildly and mirthfully.

Tess Benger, Erik Weinhart, and Christopher Jones are sweet as the Darling children Wendy, John and Michael. The motherly Wendy sings a lovely lullaby. Jayme Armstrong appears as their mother, Mrs. Darling, and also as the beautiful Tiger Lily. Tinker Bell is portrayed only as a flickering, snickering light, and that character is missed.

Drayton Entertainment used several local children for the production, including Peter Jones, Ethan Kast, Andrew Mourcos, Joshua Piedl and Devon Radue to play the Lost Boys. A delightful children’s ensemble of dancers also performs, organized and choreographed by Waterloo’s Moreé School of Dance.

Set designer J.C. Olivier created an ingenious series of props, from the cozy Darling bedroom to the helm of the Jolly Roger. A sea effect is created with waving fabric - enough to nearly drown in.

Costume designer Angela Van der Veen provides a truly green outfit for Peter Pan, a wonderful array of pirate and Indian costumes and a remarkable Nana, the nursemaid dog, and a ticking crocodile too.

The  flying sequences drew gasps from the audience and were provided by the renowned aerial experts from Flying by Foy, of Las Vegas.

The pantomime was written by Simon Aylin and Trudy Moffatt. It was also directed and choreographed by Moffat, who has led previous Drayton Entertainment holiday hits Aladdin, Cinderella, and Robin Hood.

Peter Pans of all sizes and vintages were thrilled with the family event, which marks a happy start to the Christmas season.

Peter Pan plays until Dec. 19. For tickets call 519-747-7788 or toll free at 1-888-449-4463. For more information visit



Vol 43 Issue 48


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