Pleasance Theatre, London – until 7 January 2018
A magical tale of a boy who never grows up, the familiar story that follows Peter from a baby lost in Kensington Park to ‘The Neverland’ where he becomes ‘Pan’ the leader of the lost boys, sworn enemy of Captain James Hook and companion of Wendy, John and Michael. After playing mother and father with Wendy, Peter is given an insight into what life might be like away from Neverland, he wonders whether it really is better to stay a boy forever or whether he should join the real world and grow up.
Cleverly adapted, Alexandra Spencer-Jones’ take on Peter Pan is riddled with rhyme and sweet imaginings; three feathered black birds, moaning mermaids and dancing Lost Boys. The action on stage often echos the ‘make believe’ situations we all created as children, formed purely through wild imagination and little else. Dreams and nightmares are explored, from wanting to grow up and ‘be stable’ to Captain Hook losing his hand and seeking his revenge.
Throughout the production, several popular songs are used to tell the story of Pans journey, starting with a harmonised version of Take That’s, ‘Could It Be Magic’. Although the majority of these songs were sung beautifully, they don’t always contribute to telling the story, instead they cause confusion for the audience. At a recommended age of 3+, lyrics which children will be looking out for, may just end up leaving them puzzled and open to distractions. With banging drums and electric guitars, several tunes are rather loud for little ears. The production fails to target an audience, almost feeling like it isn’t pitched for children or adults, the sound swings from a rock concert to a school hall.
Olivia Warren is playful with character choices, delivering a strong Scottish accent and a wonderful welsh twist for two of her roles. Wesley Lineham has created a flamboyant terroriser for Captain Hook, an interesting character which recaptures the audiences attention. There are great moments of movement during the play, when the cast create sailing boats and mermaid rocks yet most of Peter Pan’s transitions and movement sections seemed as though they were purely trying to showcase how well the actor, Toby Falla, could move. The actors playing Tinker Bell were fun and convincing, however the furry cube which represented Tinker Bell herself felt clumsy and unnecessary.
Join the cast for some Tinker Tea and follow Peter Pan on his journey into boyhood.