Review: Peter Pan: A British Panto

Um, creepy.

Um, creepy.

Photo courtesy of City Theatre

Peter Pan: A British Panto; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; $10-$18. City Theatre, Sacramento City College Performing Arts Center, 3835 Freeport Boulevard; (916) 558-2174; Through December 13.
Rated 4.0

British panto, for the uninitiated, is theater that incorporates song and dance with broad slapstick humor and audience participation.

And what that means for audiences is possessing a willingness to leave behind any expectations of the traditional Peter Pan story and characters—as well as any expectations for logic, delicate humor sensibilities and maturity. But do bring a sense of goofiness, a willingness to accept jokes both good and bad and an acceptance of nontraditional characters.

Oh, and if there are any available, bring along a kid or two.

At the very least, come equipped with a childish sense of silliness and wonder.

Though the show is mostly aimed at a young audience (especially the matinees), older audience members will be kept entertained by the show’s double entendres and risque jokes.

There are also familiar songs from the ’60s through today (including hip-hop), all of which are backed up by the talented, versatile musicians Dan Pool and Steve Ibarra.

Quirky characters include a narrator-MC (the very funny Vernon Lewis), Elvis, a Teletubby and the Spice Girls and a two-man Panto pony. And then there are the talents of those portraying the standard Peter Pan roles: the magical title character (Meghan Cazadio), the fierce Tankerbell (yes, Tankerbell, performed here by Anthony Person), talent-show hopeful Wendy (Samantha Hannum) and the gleefully evil Captain Hook (Sean Thomas Olivares).

Warning: audience participation is not just a bonus here—it’s basically required. Candy is thrown at regular intervals to squealing kids (and adults), and there are plastic balls that viewers may throw at onstage villains. Sometimes cast members run through the audience. The whole thing results in a lot of cheers and squeals from everyone involved.