The Young People’s Committee is a Subcommittee of the Benevolence Committee. It arranges a traditional series of events for young people who are beneficiaries or associated with beneficiaries of the Charity.
YPC visit to the Pantomime – December 2022
Organising last year’s (2021) Christmas event was a pantomime in itself for the Young Peoples’ Committee. Due to the spectre of the seemingly everlasting covid 19 pandemic it was a case of “It’s on”, “ Oh no it’s not”, “It’s on”, “Oh no It’s not” up to the day we were told the cast at the Lowry had succumbed to the virus and the performance we had booked for was cancelled.
After two years of not being able to hold a Christmas event it was a great relief that our 2022 Christmas event went ahead without any major setbacks.
The 2022 event was a trip to Manchester Opera House to see a performance of “ The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan” followed by a festive meal and party at the Balcony Suite, Manchester Hall.
After the dark, dismal, wet weather over the Christmas holiday, Thursday 29th December was a bright sunny cold day with a strong northwest breeze. That’s exactly how Ray Evans felt, cheerful but cold and getting colder, when I met him at the entrance to the Opera House, check board and pen at the ready to greet our guests when they arrived. How did he persuade me that I should take his place outside?
Inside, Karen and the rest of the team were busy distributing the tickets, giving directions to the seats and taking phone calls asking where the nearest affordable car parks were.
After all the guests had arrived it was time for the committee members to take their seats, sit down, and enjoy the show.
The cast of “The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan” is led by Jason Manford as Captain Hook and Ben Nickless as Mr Smee. The storyline is based more on the film “Hook” than the original book. Wendy has been brought back to Neverland by Tink ( she has lost the “erbelle”) to help find Peter who has lost his magic powers.
The pantomime is hilarious, Jason Manford and Ben Nickless are reminiscent of Morecambe and Wise. Jason Manford can’t be evil, at one point in the performance he had to remind the audience that they were supposed to boo him. The “ Acromaniacs” as the Lost Boys add energy to the show especially in the scene where the Lost Boys are in training for the upcoming battle with Hook. The version of The Twelve Days of Christmas by Hook, Smee, Peter, Wendy and Tink had everybody rolling in the aisles. They couldn’t have scripted everything that happened in the routine.
The showstopper is the crocodile. It is enormous, frightening, more so if you are sat in the stalls with its head above you.
Who would have thought that the pixie dust located at the mermaid pool had the restorative power to bring back Peter’s magical power and help him lead the Lost Boys to victory over Captain Hook and the Pirates.
One reviewer summed up the experience far better than I could:
“There’s something about seeing a panto in a historic theatre like the Opera House where it somehow ‘belongs’ and this production fits in perfectly, traditional in its extravagance as well as its naughtiness, full of contemporary references and topical jokes, but also generosity and love. Most of all though, The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan is totally ridiculous – in the best possible way.”
All of the guests, and the committee members thoroughly enjoyed the pantomime. It was the main topic of conversation as the group walked through Spinningfields to Manchester Halls for some refreshment and dinner.
There was a warm welcome for all of the guests at Manchester Hall and we were ushered to the Balcony Suite for dinner a karaoke and disco, presented by Paulski. After taking our seats and dinner, soup, festive meal and chocolate yule log was served by David Dunleavey and his excellent staff. Thanks David.
Before dinner was served quiz sheets, created by Karen and Paul Doran, based upon Christmas facts and songs were distributed. The quizzes created much discussion and differing answers during the meal.
Despite the cold, some guests couldn’t resist going out onto the balcony to watch the passers by on Bridge Street.
The answers to the Christmas songs quiz were given in a unique way by one of our guests, Charlotte, who sang the answers so beautifully. She took singing for your supper to a new level. Thanks Charlotte.
As with all good things the evening had to come to an end. After the selection boxes had been given to the younger guests it was time for farewells. Everybody enjoyed the whole day’s experience.
Thanks are to Karen for organising the tickets, liaising with our guests and Manchester Hall, Paul the DJ, Gary O’Neill for booking the DJ and Manchester Halls, Paul Doran / Karen for the quizzes, Ray Evans for braving the cold, Malcolm Roe ensuring all were accommodated and David Dunleavey and the staff at Manchester Halls.
Paul T Doran
Director of Operations