Panto superstars don’t come much bigger than David Hasselhoff - the most watched TV star on the planet, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
He’s so big that the role which he plays in Peter Pan has been rebranded Captain Hoff The Hook for the festive season’s spectacular at Nottingham Theatre Royal.
The build-up which he’s given for his entrance is mega and the cheers are deafening for the best-dressed pirate king to stride a stage.
The Baywatch bruiser is enthroned on his red chair, emblazoned with The Hoff, which by magic is transformed into his Knight Rider mobile with flashing lights.
While there’s no Dame in Peter Pan, The Hoff’s right-hand man Ben Nickless (playing Smee) brings the house down as a Pamela Anderson lookie-likie, complete with enormous bust which has a life of its own. The Hoff reminisces about his time on Baywatch - “beach and boobies, sun and boobies” as he surveys the ample charms of a line-up of leggy lovelies.
He brings Las Vegas glamour to the panto when four dancers in skimpy gold costumes and red feather plumage shimmy around him as he sings This Is The Moment.
This is the best panto the Theatre Royal has seen for years. Hi-de-Hi’s Su Pollard is a real catch as Mimi the magical Mermaid with a fabulous singing voice and a haul of cod-awful fish puns.
Blue Peter’s Barney Harwood is an engaging and athletic Peter Pan, his megawatt smile lights up the stage and his forward rolls and back-flip high above the stage on a wire are breath-taking.
A roller-skating Tinkerbell (Isobel Hathaway), a talking, blinking crocodile and a high-flying Wendy with a good singing voice (Hannah Nicholas) make this panto as much a treat for the kids as it is for their parents who have no doubt been drawn by the mighty Hasslelhoff.
Even the merchandise is a cut above the usual flashing wands and light sabres found in other theatres. There’s a helicopter with rotating blades which light up when you pull the trigger and an illuminated fairy.
Peter Pan is running at Nottingham Theatre Royal until January 12, 2014.