Unless you have been living under a rock, or maybe in Derby (where they have the actress that played “Hev” in Eastenders heading up their panto) you will almost certainly be aware that a certain 80’s TV superstar is heading up the panto at the Theatre Royal this year.
That’s right folks the Hoff is in town and he’s dishing out the laughs in his role as villainous Captain Hook, or Hoff the Hook (that’s just one of dozens of Hoff puns thrown in through the night), a role he has played across the UK over the past few years.
The Hoff might well be the star attraction, and his introduction around half hour into the show is deemed worthy of a prize fighter like introduction and see’s him carried in upon a chair emblazoned with his iconic nickname, however he is not the only big name treading the board at the theatre’s biggest panto to date.
Local legend, and first lady of Nottingham, Su Pollard is back in her home town and clearly loving every minute of her role as Mimi the Mermaid, which see’s her throwing out the double entendre’s much to the delight of the older member’s of the crowd, as well as engaging the audience in a “Hi-di-hi” welcome.
While the adults in the audience were there for The Hoff and Su for the younger members of the audience, and despite it being a cold Tuesday night there were many, the star attraction was Children’s TV presenter Barney Harwood who played the role of titular character Peter Pan with enthusiasm, spending much of the night flying high above the rest of the cast.
Despite all that though, for me, it was one of the lesser known stars that stole the show in the form of Ben Nickless. The young actor played the role of put upon first mate Smee delivering a performance of pure enjoyment for young and old alike. A scene in which he read from his novel 50 Sweets a Day was one of the stand out moments of the night that had everybody laughing the head’s Hoff (sorry!). Nickless and The Hoff formed a great double act, often backed up by the rest of the pirate crew, including a great twerking moment.
His tribute to his co-stars hit show Baywatch meanwhile will still have you laughing way after the final curtain has drawn.
Ultimately though this is The Hoff’s show and he was in great form, not afraid to spoof himself or his work with nods to both the aforementioned Baywatch and his hit 80’s show Knightrider, with even a brief mention of his ill-fated Britain’s Got Talent run thrown in.
The Hoff has also never been afraid of belting out a song and does so with aplomb tonight, including an enjoyable Hoff Stuff finale that brought the show to an enjoyable close.
Peter Pan proves to be a thoroughly enjoyable panto, though, for a family show, was a little more “adult” than I might have expected with many of the quips, jokes and innuendo seemingly aimed more at the older member’s of the audience – though my two eldest both found The Hoff’s boob filled reminisce of his Baywatch days hilarious. Still there is plenty for all with music, dance, water fights and more to ensure a roaring time for all the family.
Plus of course The Hoff.
Tickets are selling fast for what is set to the be the biggest panto yet for the Theatre so grab one quickly if you want a chance to see The Hoff and co before the run ends in January.
Quite frankly, I reckon you’d be Hoff your head no to.
Review by Darren Patterson
Peter Pan is at the Theatre Royal until Sunday 12 January 2014, for more information and tickets click here