GEORGE Critchley, Lancashire’s Mr Pantomime, has tipped burgeoning talent Kirsty MacLaren for a glittering West End career.

The Scottish-born actress takes the lead role in the children’s fairytale Peter Pan, the story of the boy who wouldn’t grow up, at Oswaldtwistle Civic Theatre tonight.

George said: “I’ve discovered a shining talent for the future – Kirsty is that good. I’ve seen some exceptional acting talent over the years, some of them going on to great things on television and stage, but this young lady will go a long way in this business.

“If I’m not outside her door at a West End theatre one day saying, ‘Do you remember playing Peter Pan at Oswaldtwistle all those years ago?’ I’ll be amazed.

“Kirsty is only 20 – but she can sing and act beautifully. She has a wonderful stage presence and, crucially, a brilliant temperament.”

George handed the young actress her big break, casting her as Dorothy in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz at Blackburn Thwaites Theatre, Kirsty’s first professional acting role.

“When I heard Kirsty’s beautiful voice singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow, I knew I had heard something special and I had to get her back to Lancashire to be in Peter Pan.”

Kirsty, who graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland last summer, where she gained a BA in musical theatre, said Peter Pan was always her favourite.

“To see the children’s faces at the Peter Pan matinee performances, with me hovering around the stage, it was like magic – everything that I had hoped for from playing panto,” she said.

“It is such a special time of year, and we need to protect the legacy of pantomime for the next generation and seeing so many children enjoying Peter Pan is incredible.”

She added: “Acting is a demanding profession – but also it is a way of life and one that I love.”


PETER Pan has flown into Oswaldtwistle with more than a sprinkle of festive cheer.
With every classic character from JM Barrie’s children’s story, PMA productions delivered a great panto for all the family.
Giggles from the audience proved that adults were enjoying the show as much as the children.
With fun lyrics and audience interaction this is a show that is well worth watching this Christmas.
The set looked pretty good and mischievous Tinkerbell was our storyteller – a pretty fairy on wheels who went down well with the little girls in the audience.
And mean old Captain Hook deserves a mention – the baddie deserved every boo that he got.
Pirate Smee, the cheeky chappy wasn’t afraid to make us laugh with excess wind and crocodile jibes.
The live music, which accompanied by the solos and duets sung by a sweet-sounding Wendy and a pitch-perfect Peter Pan, was just great.
With PMA productions you’re always in for a good show.
And with a perfect view of the big stage that Oswaldtwistle Civic Theatre has to offer – we weren’t disappointed.

  • Shows today at 7pm and tomorrow at 2pm  Details from 01254 380293.