Peter Pan review at Queens Theatre Hornchurch
This fresh, imaginative new version of Peter Pan is conceived as a game of make believe in Kensington Gardens and makes ingenious use of the Italianate steps and pond that are the centre point of Norman Coates’ set. Dylan Kennedy, as a lithe, lightfooted Peter Pan, leaps athletically all over it – using an Irish lilt that neatly marks him out as different.
Everyone in this cast of ten is an actor-musician. Between them they manage sound effects such as Tinkerbell’s ‘voice’, for which Natasha Moore uses a penny whistle. They also play extensively to accompany Steven Markwick’s jolly songs. Instruments are also used entertainingly as part of the characterisation – from Kate Robson-Stuart, as Wendy, exuberantly playing violin to Simon Jessop’s Smee getting a lot of humour out of both trumpet and trombone.
Jonathan Markwood, with his lovely bass singing voice, doubles as JM Barrie and Hook – an interesting slant – while Mr Darling is a completely separate character nicely evoked by Sam Kordbacheh when he’s not playing keyboards, clarinet, a very funny Slightly – even more lost than the other lost boys – or a less than dashing pirate.
Audiences are so used to the pantomime version of this story, which owes a lot to the 1953 Disney film, that it is refreshing to see an adaptation that goes right back to Barrie and reintroduces incidents like Wendy and Peter being rescued by a kite and a bird, respectively. And what a good idea to use puppetry for the mermaid.
It’s a thoughtful show which oozes charm. Even the totally unnecessary and ill-judged fart joke sequence mars it only very briefly.
Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch, May 28-June 16
- Vicky Ireland after JM Barrie, Steven Markwick (music and lyrics)
- Bob Carlton
- Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch
- Matthew James Hinchliffe, Callum Hughes, Simon Jessop, Dylan Kennedy, Sam Kordbacheh, Greg Last, Jonathan Markwood, Natasha Moore, Kate Robson-Stuart, Alison Thea-Skot
- Running time
- 2hrs 10mins
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