Pleasance Theatre, London – until 7 January 2018
Written and directed by Alexandra Spence-Jones, this reimagining of JM Barrie’s classic story is imaginative but somehow loses the sparkle of the original story.
This latest lively production of Peter Pan presented by Action to the Word has certainly plenty of interesting ideas about reimagining the story for a 2017 audience, including featuring contemporary music from the likes of Take That’s version of ‘Could it Be Magic’ and Harry Styles ‘Sign of the Times’ – but the story seems to get lost underneath it.
Written and directed by Alexandra Spencer-Jones, The Lost Boy Peter Pan does get off to a solid start by beginning with how Peter Pan ended up in Neverland in the first place, which adds depth and understanding to the story that other adaptations of Peter Pan don’t explore.
From then on it is a pacy and enthusiastic production that gets carried away with its ideas and characters leaping all over the place, leaving very little room for the audience to feel emotionally engaged with it. Even the sentimental moments of the story as Wendy and Peter have their argument or when Wendy realises that Peter has left her feel slightly forced and awkward.
But it has to be said the narration and the rhythmic use of language throughout is effective in keeping the story focused and fluid – until of course a contemporary song is thrown in that breaks the flow and the audience’s attention.
While the use of music can be effective – particularly when it reflects what is going on in the story, there can be too many different styles of music from pop to rock that give the impression that the selection of songs were a bit of an afterthought.
There is definitely plenty of imagination about it – particularly in the choreography which really conveys to the audience that the cast are really ‘flying’ and the way in which each cast member transforms from character to the next with ease.
The story of Peter Pan has always has plenty of magic about it, but with The Lost Boy Peter Pan it feels this has been stripped away for a more rustic version that is slightly disappointing despite the child-like exuberance that is displayed by all of the cast.
The Lost Boy Peter Pan continues to play at the Pleasance Theatre until the 7th January 2018. For more information and to book tickets visit: https://www.pleasance.co.uk/event/lost-boy-peter-pan#overview