Ready for panto opening: as Hook promises to be ‘more Johnny Depp than regal’ and Wendy says wearing a flying harness under her costume is a challenge ‘but worth it’

Stars of Aylesbury Waterside Theatre's panto Peter Pan - pictured are Steve Serlin (Hook), Adam Pettigrew (Peter Pan) and Holly Brewer (Wendy)
Stars of Aylesbury Waterside Theatre's panto Peter Pan - pictured are Steve Serlin (Hook), Adam Pettigrew (Peter Pan) and Holly Brewer (Wendy)

Fights, flights and fancy footwork are just three of the things we have to look forward to at this year’s Waterside pantomime, Peter Pan.

Cast members including Russell Grant are rehearsing in the Second Space, learning their lines and some of them are also learning how to fly and fence, and they’re enjoying every minute of it.

Adam Pettigrew, who first performed in a production of Peter Pan four years ago when he was one of the Lost Boys, said: “Everyone is in for a treat. Today we had our first day of flying in harness.

It involves working together as a team and putting your trust in the crew, but it was great fun.”

Adam, 24, is thrilled to have the leading role in the pantomime this year and admitted: “I am so excited to be playing Peter Pan; I think it’s something every little boy wants to be, to get the chance to fly and to fight pirates.”

There will be plenty of skirmishes with arch enemy Captain Hook, played by Steven Serlin who reprises his baddie role after performing in last year’s Waterside panto as King Rat.

“We use real fencing swords,” said Steven, “and have been given careful instruction on how to use them.”

Steven, who lives in north London and has an established career in theatre and television, is thrilled to be back in Aylesbury. “This is a stunning theatre to work in; a lot of West End theatres are dusty, old and smelly.

“I enjoyed being able to commute home each night last year, and I’ll be able to do the same again this year. The people here are really lovely, it makes a big difference. Backstage is just as important, especially for pantomime because you live your life here for over a month.”

Steven said he was going to base his performance on the Johnny Depp cinematic version of Hook, but the director wants him to play it regal.

“So I will be regal and evil, “ he said. “I love doing comedy and I bring a comic edge to my baddies. I want the audience to boo a lot.”

One person the audience won’t be booing is beautiful Holly Brewer, a singer, performer and pianist from Milton Keynes who plays Wendy. Seventeen-year-old Holly’s first panto performance was three years ago when she played a small part as Fairy Rainbow in Cinderella alongside Mickey Rooney.

From that tiny part she is now the leading lady in Peter Pan, and the thought is exciting for her. “I was nervous at first,” she admitted, “but now that I’ve got my script and I’m with the rest of the cast it feels good.”

Holly has worked as a vocalist in the West End and at events locally and is now working on writing her own songs. In the panto she sings just twice however, as her performance in this production is primarily about acting. There is still plenty of music in the show though, with quite a Motown flavour to a lot of the tunes.

Holly will also be flying, which means she will have a harness on underneath her costume throughout the show. She admits this may make her look bulkier than normal, and it can be uncomfortable, but says it is worth it.

“The flying is so lovely and adds so much to the show; it will look beautiful to the audience.”

You can meet Holly and Adam at the library in town on Saturday 15th December when they visit between 12.30 and 1pm.

Holly will be reading from Peter Pan whilst Adam wanders amongst the audience to meet everyone.

Peter Pan is at the Waterside from Saturday December 8th-Sunday 30.

For more details visit www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury