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Arts diary: PANTOMIME REVIEW Peter Pan The Lowry,Salford.

Byline: MALCOLM HANDLEY

THIS Peter Pan has everything you could want from a pantomime and more -or maybe less. There is a sack load of story telling, perhaps no bad thing, and not enough funny lines, which is certainly a bad thing when you have Justin Moorhouse in the cast.

Better known for his stand-up routines,Moorhouse makes an excellent fist of his Smee character,but every time he appears you can sense the audience,both young and old alike, is just willing him to have more to say and more to do.

That said, there really is a lot going for this seasonal trip to Never Never Land. It is full of music, some excellent choreography and dancing and one or two fine performances especially from the younger members of the cast. Speaking of which, there was a definite air of Merseyside on the banks of Manchester Ship Canal when this pan to opened its doors.

Liverpool-born Tara Wells is a charming Tiger Lily,Emily Fleeshman, daughter of Brookside star Sue Jenkins, is a wonderfully entertaining Tinkerbell, there are more of the Wells clan in the Darling household and Rosie Fleeshman is among the Lost Boys -all this in an excellent package put together by Liverpool-based Pele Productions.

Both Tara and Emily are oozing with talent and enthusiasm.Tara's dancing and singing are superb, and Emily is a delight at every appearance although director David Fleeshman perhaps ought to rethink Tinkerbell's squawk voice box. It's a very funny idea but there are times when you simply cannot make out a word she is saying.

James Hedley is tremendous as Peter Pan and Paul Nicholas does a fine line in evil as Hook. Together with Clare Buckfield's Wendy and the excellent dance team, the whole thing moves swiftly and smoothly,and is hugely entertaining. All this particular trip to Never Never Land needed was a bit more Smee.

If popularity is any indication of success, thenPele Productions is creating a size able niche for itself. The Lowry announced last night the company's Wizard of Oz will be the seasonal show at the theatre for Christmas 2004.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 24, 2003
Words:356
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