Peter Pan review at Royal and Derngate, Northampton – ‘packed with music and dance’
Light, tight and cheerful, Barbara Evans’ boisterous staging of JM Barrie’s much-loved adventure might have had its story stripped to the bare bones, but it hasn’t lost its charm.
Here, the familiar plot is reduced to exposition-blurts between quickfire comic sketches and musical interludes set to Steve Geere’s peppy pop score.
Long-running double act the Grumbleweeds pepper their skits with daft, dirty humour. A set piece where Robin Colvill’s dishevelled Smee disrupts the show’s technical elements is pure, perfectly timed anarchy. Joe Sleight makes a spritely, enthusiastic Pan, swooping overhead on wires for much of the runtime, bickering with Abigail Dever’s petulant, rollerskating Tinkerbell. Darren Day really goes for it as Hook, hamming things up as a lavishly overdressed gangster geezer with an unsettling taste for mermaid meat.
Synchronised breakdance troupe Flawless pop and flip through several crisp routines, closing the first act with an invigorating war dance with a thumping primal drumbeat, one part haka, one part street-dance stand-off.
They have plenty of space on an uncluttered stage where little more than some detailed backdrops take us from the rooftops of London to a tropical, toadstool-sprouting Neverland as bright as a colouring book.
We need your help…
When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.
The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.
We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.
Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.