Peter Pan review at Park Theatre, London – ‘charming and entertaining’
It’s easy to forget that JM Barrie’s Peter Pan was originally conceived as a work for the stage. However this year’s Park Theatre Christmas show, directed by Jonathan O’Boyle, returns to the original play, making only a few small alterations in keeping with the staging’s modern day setting.
The lively production contains all the familiar elements: the Lost Boys, Captain Hook, Tinkerbell, the tick-tocking crocodile and Nana the dog – a lovely shaggy puppet resembling an Old English Sheepdog. But it also serves as a reminder of the idiosyncratic nature of Barrie’s story, specifically its very sad refrain of children desperately seeking a mother.
The star of the show is Nickcolia King-N’Da as Peter Pan. He emphasises the hero’s sweet naivety, especially his inability to understand what Wendy wants from him, but also gives the fight scenes genuine energy. His opposite, Captain Hook is played by Alexander Vlahos, relishing every opportunity to give the character additional evil quirks.
Gregor Donnelly’s set design merges the outdoors and indoors, creating a fantasy setting where the grass clings to the furniture, autumn leaves litter the floorboards and the walls of the nursery are spray painted with a stratosphere of shooting stars.
It’s not flawless, with the first half in particular feeling a little uneven, but the cast make the twisting story clear enough for even the youngest audience members to follow. And crucially, it contains enough magic to make it one of the most engaging Christmas shows around.