Review: PETER'S FINAL FLIGHT Takes Audiences On A Whimsical Adventure in Ross Petty's Farewell Production

Ross Petty's farewell production runs through January 7.

By: Dec. 13, 2022
Review: PETER'S FINAL FLIGHT Takes Audiences On A Whimsical Adventure in Ross Petty's Farewell Production
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Looking for an escape this winter season? Ross Petty's final holiday pantomime is whisking audiences away to Neverland on a whimsical, musical adventure that's got something for everyone, no matter their age.

Presented by Ross Petty Productions in association with Crow's Theatre, PETER'S FINAL FLIGHT! A PAN-TASTICAL FAMILY MUSICAL is the final entry in the 25 year history of Ross Petty's holiday pantomime. Directed by Tracey Flye, with writing by Matt Murray, it opens on the set of a production of Peter Pan, where former-child star-turned-stage actor Peter (Alex Wierzbicki) struggles to manage his nerves on opening night. After a run-in with his boss, Ross Petty (playing himself) that sets the fourth-wall breaking tone of the show, the fairy Plumbum (Dan Chameroy) appears and after mistaking him for another Peter, whisks him away to Neverland to help with their latest emergency.

While in Neverland, Peter faces off against Captain Hook (Ross Petty)'s widow, Helga (Sara-Jeanne Hosie) and her sidekick Smee (Eddie Glen). The pair are looking to avenge the late Captain Hook by destroying the heart of Neverland, and to help prevent that from happening, Peter agrees to team up with Plumbum and the Lost Ones. Eventually, Peter's influencer-obsessed co-star Erika (Stephanie Sy) lands and joins up with their team to stop Helga. As with any other Ross Petty pantomime, there are lessons learned, catchy pop covers sung (music direction, arrangements and orchestrations by Bob Foster).

The cast are great, as many actors have several years of these pantomimes under their belts, and even for newer additions to the ensemble there was great chemistry across all roles. As the titular Peter, Wierzbicki is a charming, slightly awkward hero who grows into his role as a leader naturally. Sy's Erika starts out as a seemingly fame-and-phone obsessed influencer, but Sy does a great job of showing the layers to her character and explaining why she is the way she is.

Chameroy shines as his creation Plumbum, nailing both verbal and slapstick comedy. Plumbum is a natural scene-stealer, and remains a bright spot from her first appearance through to curtain call. Another bright comedic element in PETER'S FINAL FLIGHT is Glen, whose Smee is witty, charming, and incredibly good at blending a break in character into a fun fourth-wall break to engage the audience even more.

As the antagonist of the show, Hosie is stellar. She plays off the energy of the crowd with ease, and nails her big musical number early on. It's hard to dislike her Helga, even when she's planning the removal of joy from the world. In this final pantomime, Petty stepped back into the role of Captain Hook for a few brief scenes. Watching him play off the other actors in the cast is a ton of fun, and it's easy to see how much of an effect these productions have had on him - and on his audiences over the last 25 years, if the cheers he got on opening night are any indicator.

There's enough interactive elements to keep kids engaged, and a ton of jokes for audience members of all ages. While most keep to either being for kids or adults, there was one reference towards the end of the first act that sounded more like a recollection of assault, played off as humour. Including jokes for the adults in the audience is all well and good, but that one definitely felt too dark and out of place in an otherwise light-hearted family show.

All in all, PETER'S FINAL FLIGHT is a fun night out for audiences of any age. It's packed to the brim with vibrant sets (set design by Michael Gianfrancesco) and stunning projection work (projection design by Cameron Davis), including a starry night sky that looks like it was pulled out of a Peter Pan storybook. Whether you've been to every Ross Petty pantomime or none, PETER'S FINAL FLIGHT is an energetic romp that reimagines a beloved fairytale for audiences today - and it's got a nice lesson to take home from the theatre, too.


Ross Petty Productions' PETER'S FINAL FLIGHT runs through January 7, 2023 at the Elgin Theatre, 189 Yonge St., Toronto.

For more information or to purchase tickets visit https://www.rosspetty.com/

Photo credit: Rachel McCaig



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