The great and good (and me) were out in force on the red carpet at Richmond Theatre last night for Peter Pan, as the Theatre played host to a charity gala night raising funds for two very worthwhile causes – Great Ormond Street Hospital’s Theatres for Theatres appeal and Richmond Theatre Trust.
Members of the press mingled with guests of the Theatre and a number of VIPs were in attendance for the special night, including Richmond Theatre patrons Peter Davison and Gwen Taylor, Kew resident and comedian Milton Jones (an employee of Richmond Theatre in his youth – Milton himself worked as an usher on various Richmond Theatre shows and past pantomimes), and Elaine Paige.
What a great production it was. All the necessary ingredients for a very successful pantomime (including a hilarious Tinker Bell about which my Goddaughter asked “is Tinker Bell really that small?). We have the familiar old mix of the Peter Pan dream of always believing in magic and never having to turn into a boring old grown up and representing joy and youth, interspersed with a traditional Wendy and the lost boys. Then a very groovy Tiger Lily and her indian squaws singing to Katy Perry and an incredibly camp Roger The Cabin Boy who added a hilarious element to the pirate crew.
Then of course we have the big bad baddie – the star of the show Mr Henry Winkler, playing the part of the infamous Captain Hook. The children with me absolutely loved it and the audience were clapping in excited anticipation, even before anyone had come on to the stage.
I’m afraid The Fonz was the massive draw for me and when they all burst into “Happy Days” and The Fonz starts pointing out women in the audience “I like you, you’ve got brown hair and I am going to chew off all your buttons like candys and then re-knit your sweater later back in my dressing room” it was immensely evocative and took me right back to my childhood love. He also at the end gives the children a little pep talk about how learning was always very hard for him and that he was only really great at “lunch”, but how each and every on of us has magic and greatness inside and how you learn has nothing to do with how brilliant you are – everyone learns in their own way and it’s incredibly inspirational and I’m sure a lot of children came away feeling a few inches/centimetres taller.
So if you can get there, you should go – it puts you right into the Christmas spirit and you get to have a good old take me right back moment at the same time if you were a Happy Days fan.
AND the BEST BIT??? I got to have dinner with him afterwards and my children met him. Here he is with my daughter:-
Peter Pan runs until Sunday 12 January at Richmond Theatre and tickets are still available – visit atgtickets.com/Richmond to book or call the ATG Tickets booking line on 0844 871 7651.