AS THE New Theatre’s curtain rises on this year’s panto Peter Pan, the magic becomes instantaneous as Tinkerbell and Peter whisk not only Wendy and her brothers but also the audience away to Neverland.

A combination of music, dance, fun and adventure lie ahead as The Lost Boys, Mimi The Mermaid, Tiger Lilly and Mrs Smee join forces to thwart the wicked plans of Hoff The Hook and his quartet of comedy pirates.

David Hasselhoff gets top billing as Hoff The Hook. His arrival on stage to the strains of Hooked on A Feeling is great fun and he’s soon encouraging audience interaction. References to his TV appearances in Baywatch and Knight Rider along with a distinct knack of melodramatic delivery make The Hoff the consummate panto performer.

Wales own Mike Doyle returns as the panto dame, forming a strong bond with co-stars as well as the audience. Doyle’s appearances get stronger every year and his In The Navy dance routine at the beginning of act two is worthy of many a classic comedy performance.

Matthew Chase brings much in the way of charisma to the role of Peter Pan, while there are stunning vocal performances from The Voice star Stephanie Webber as Mimi The Mermaid, Emma Prosse as Tinker Bell, Julie Cullen as Wendy and Natalie Winsor as Tiger Lily.

With fabulous support from ensemble dancers and the youngsters of Lorri Guppy’s School of Dance, Peter Pan is perfected with an awesome selection of special effects including a giant crocodile.

Peter Pan continues at The New Theatre until January 8 2017.

Andy Howells