Review: Peter Pancreas

This year’s all-medic Pantomime delivers an evening of hilarity and entertainment that is not to be missed

Addenbrookes hook laughs medic Pancreas pantomime peter

With the nights drawing in and Bridgemas nearly upon us, what better way to get into the festive spirit than a panto?

And this year’s Addenbrooke’s pantomime Peter Pancreas – written, arranged, produced and performed by the clinical students of Cambridge – does not disappoint.

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From start to finish this show is full of fun and medical puns-a-plenty, although there was more than enough for the non-medics to enjoy (and a handy glossary in the programme to fill in the gaps). A (largely) cohesive storyline kept the audience entertained, alongside the classic ‘he’s behind you’ moments guided by Sam Bostock as Tinkerbell’s Palsy, the comic lead/pantomime dame hybrid. The strength of the writing in this production is to be commended: often almost a little tooclose to the bone, but this just add to the hilarity. The performance maintained a good pace, which along with the seamless scene changes made for a professional finish, complemented by good props and costuming (the tightness of Alex Taylor’s shorts is surely worthy of a special mention).

Characters were generally portrayed confidently – the few line-fluffs (no doubt down to first-night jitters) were elegantly dealt with. The stand out performance without doubt came from Oliver Taylor playing Captain Hookworm, delivering his punch lines with the sickening charm of the perfect ‘love-to-hate’ pantomime villain, having the audience in near-constant laughter. Helena Wickham as Peter Pancreas struck the right balance between humour and a sense of innocent good nature, winning over the audience from the first.

The musical arrangements from Chris McMurran and orchestra accompanied, if not on occasion overpowered, the voices of the cast, with some lyrics unforunately lost. However, a particularly strong vocal performance came from Rachel Flynn as Wen D-Dimer, whose soprano rang out across the Mumford Theatre. A highlight of the second act was the impressive medley of medical parody songs with witty lyrics, high-energy backing from the large chorus and some saucy cross-dressing that was highly appreciated by the audience. The choreography throughout the performance was simple but effective and the chorus were well-rehearsed, with the dance troupe adding an extra level of entertainment to songs. Especially well choreographed was the Lion King parody, ‘Circle of Strife’, which included the on-stage delivery of a baby (not, I should mention, real).

It was clear to see how much the cast and crew were enjoying themselves throughout the performance, making for a fun, relaxed experience for the audience. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust and Cambridge Mind, making it a more than worthwhile evening, with programme and raffle ticket sales adding to the fundraising.

An absolute must-see for medics and anyone in need of a week 6 pick-me-up, Peter Pancreas met and exceeded expectation.

It’s no wonder all performances have already sold out – those lucky enough to have tickets are definitely in for a treat.

4 stars