Absolutely Fabulous star Jennifer Saunders will star in the London Palladium pantomime Peter Pan this Winter festive season.
Running from 9 December to 14 January 2024, Saunders will make her panto debut in the role of Hook. Jennifer’s recent London stage performances include Mother Superior in Sister Act at the Apollo Eventim, Madame Arcati in Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit at the Duke of York’s Theatre and Lady Windermere in Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan at the Vaudeville Theatre.
“I could not be more delighted to be doing my first panto ever at the Palladium. I am a huge fan of panto and The Palladium always delivers. I wouldn’t want to be in Peter Pan’s tiny soft shoes let me tell you, because I am going to give Hook my all!’ said Jennifer Saunders
Directed by panto producer Michael Harrison, who will also co-write the show, the production will be loosely based on J. M. Barrie’s much loved tale of Peter Pan, Wendy and The Lost Boys and their adventures in Never Never Land.
Michael Harrison, Producer and Director of all eight London Palladium pantomimes said:
“I’m thrilled to be welcoming comedy legend Jennifer Saunders to our panto as Captain Hook. She is going to be a sensational addition to our show. Julian Clary is without doubt one of the greatest performers ever to grace The Palladium stage and it’s also a huge pleasure to welcome back the much-loved team of Paul, Nigel and Gary. I am particularly excited that the inimitable Rob Madge loved appearing in last year’s show so much they have signed up for another year of Palladium madness!”
Saunders follows a long list of panto star casting with her comedy pal Dawn French appearing in last year’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk, with Donny Osmond, Beverley Knight, Matt Baker, Alexandra Burke and Elaine Paige also appearing over the years.
London Palladium pantomime regulars returning this year including: actor, writer & comedian Julian Clary as Seaman Smee; Gary Wilmot (soon to appear in The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium) playing Henrietta Cook, Captain Hook’s mother; ventriloquist and comedian Paul Zerdin (Paul Zerdin: All Mouth) to play Starkey, a crewman; and, Nigel Havers (Chariots of Fire, Penelope), whose role is undetermined.
Tinker Bell will be played by Rob Madge, who wrote and starred in My Son’s a Queer, (But what can you do?) and appeared in last year’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk as the cow. The roles of Peter and Wendy are yet to be cast.
Producer Michael Harrison said ” Pantomime are not for the faint hearted. They can be riotous at times but Jennifer’s a proven comic genius. For starters, just her sauntering on stage as Captain Hook will get a laugh, and that’s before she’s said anything”
The creative team will include set designs by Mark Walters and costume designs by Durrant, choreography by Karen Bruce, lighting designs by Ben Cracknell, sound designs by Gareth Owen and composition and orchestrations by Gary Hind.
This news was first reported in deadline.com
More news to follow…
More info on Peter Pan at the London Palladium