Search

Soon Peter Pan will be making history

PUBLISHED: 10:15 05 December 2008 | UPDATED: 09:31 11 May 2010

Ken Farrington was busy rehearsing for the Christmas pantomime this week. Picture: SIMON FINLAY

Ken Farrington was busy rehearsing for the Christmas pantomime this week. Picture: SIMON FINLAY

A MOMENTOUS occasion in the theatrical history of Lowestoft finally arrived this week as rehearsals got under way for the town's first professional pantomime in half a century.

A MOMENTOUS occasion in the theatrical history of Lowestoft finally arrived this week as rehearsals got under way for the town's first professional pantomime in half a century.

Scripts were being studied, acrobats backflipped through mid- air and artists were in fine voice as the cast of Peter Pan began to train intensively for the opening night on Thursday at the Marina Theatre.

The show is set to include lavish sets, swashbuckling action sequences and plenty of humour.

Since their arrival on Sunday the cast have been together at the Venue of Performing Arts, in School Road, Oulton Broad, building relationships, reading their lines and being fitted for the huge variety of sumptuous costumes by wardrobe manager Frances Moitoi.

The Journal was given an exclusive sneak preview on Wednesday when we found Hollyoaks star Sarah Jane Buckley practising her role as Mrs Darling with Wendy, played by Sheryl Lafferty, while across the other side of the building Ken Farrington, previously Tom King in Emmerdale, treated us to one of nasty Captain Hook's solo numbers.

And young dancers, three of them from the Lowestoft area, practised a Victorian street scene involving energetic backflips, impressive lifts and even faster dancing.

Director Terry Morrison said by tomorrow the cast, which also includes Jamie Rickers as Smee, will have run through the whole performance, which won't be done again until the dress rehearsal.

“We've got a good strong team spirit and an excellent cast who are very professional. As a company, we are very solid. We've got some children in the show so they are restricted on what times they can come to rehearsals so during the day we rehearse scenes they are not involved with.

“By Saturday afternoon I like to have run through the whole show in its entirety, the music, the dancing, everything, using as many props as possible and then we know what we have to work on.”

During a quick break Ken, who has grown a moustache especially for the role, explained how he'd spent his time so far getting to grips with sword fighting and Lowestoft's traffic system!

“I've got a sat nav in my car and it keeps taking me down blind alleys,” he laughed.

He said he was enjoying his first stab at panto in a career spanning more than 40 years.

“The whole thing is just mad, it was never like this at the Royal Shakespeare Company,” he joked. “I got the script and I taped my lines and just kept playing and playing them in my car. Yesterday, I was learning to sword fight and all last night I had to keep getting up because I had cramp, so I think it went well.

“I hope I do get booed, then half of my job will be done. Everyone I'm working with is absolutely lovely and I'm really enjoying it.”

Aside from her main role, Sarah Jane is also playing the Magic Mermaid. She revealed a little insight into the way she would be portraying the character.

“I'm going to give her a Liverpool accent, make her a bit like a character from Footballers' Wives, a bit cheeky and a bit dippy. I don't think I'll be having much Christmas pudding or mince pies at Christmas as the outfit is, should we say, a bit figure hugging,” she said.

She also paid tribute to the Venue of Performing Arts: “I've never been treated so well anywhere - they have gone out of their way to be helpful, nothing is too much trouble. I'm going to come back and do a workshop with some of the students as everyone's been fabulous.”

Lucy Johnson, who is Tinkerbell, said she felt at home as the cottage she was sharing with Jessica Punch (Peter Pan) and Rebecca Marks (Tiger Lily), during her stay had a Christmas tree and a log fire.

Rehearsals for the pantomime transfer to the theatre on Monday so Jessica and Sheryl can get to grips with flying, Lucy can test out her roller skates, the lighting can be perfected and the technical procedures put in place.

Marina manager Martin Halliday said: “The company behind the production have an excellent reputation and we believe our ticket pricing offers great value for money. We have come a long way over the past few years and see a major pantomime as the final piece of the jigsaw in our audience development.”

Tickets for Peter Pan are still available and start at £5 each. It runs from December 11 to January 4. Telephone the box office on 01502 533200.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Lowestoft Journal

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists