Never been to Never Never Land? Then try Pratts Bottom on a wintry January night when the magic of J M Barrie’s acclaimed ‘Peter Pan’ unfolded before a packed village hall already bathed in a spectacular lighting display.
Although Pratts Bottom Dramatic Society is the only group in Bromley Borough to have performed an annual pantomime over the past half century, its January 2023 performance brought to the local community a level of all-round excellence which, like the story itself, was quite literally out of this world. Take a bow lighting and sound designer Jack Holloway for a display of truly West End quality sound and lighting effects which more than enhanced a company of immense talent both young and old.
By this time Review readers should be aware that I rarely single out individuals, believing that the success of any production is all about team effort both on and offstage. I make an exception in this case since, beyond a multi-talented team of technical effects and skills, choreographers, and musicians, we had an array of over 30 actors across a bewildering age range stretching from pre-teens to adulthood. This in itself illustrates the vibrant community that is Pratts Bottom.
While past PBDS pantos have delighted audiences with forgotten lines, missed cues and general amateur production mayhem, this year’s spellbound offering saw a revelation in levels of set design, costume, choreography, music, acting and sheer pace.
Mention then must be made of directors, Stacey Poole and Joy Jordan;
choreographer, Stacey Poole and musical director, Bryony Fletcher, together with a heroic backstage team who effortlessly managed the exits and entrances of a huge cast in the cramped space available.
‘Mermaid Lagoon’ was a particularly memorable scene with its jellyfish umbrellas and fluorescent tropical fish, together with little mermaids, aptly named Emily Boatwright and Imogen Bailey. Alice Daniells hopped around the stage as a delightfully diminutive Nana the dog. Of all the children involved, however, parents must be justifiably proud.
While PBDS ‘veteran’ and supremely talented Jen Gosnell brought her amazing traditional audience interaction talents to a lusty Peter Pan, plaudits must also go to Claire Sheehy, a discontented Tinkerbell, pantomime ‘dame’ Damon Norville (eat your heart out Harry Hill), Robert Dargaval, a dastardly Captain Hook, and Daniel Johnson, a cringing Smee.
I’m reliably informed that over 600 tickets assured the four sold-out performances. I’ve already got the 2024 tickets on sale date in my diary if only to see if PBDS can top ‘Peter Pan’.