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Wendy and Peter Pan review at Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh – ‘a rich, nuanced adaptation’

Bonnie Baddoo, Isobel McArthur and Sally Reid in Wendy and Peter Pan. Photo: Mihaela Bodlovic
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There is plenty for audiences to chew over in Ella Hickson’s clever and contemporary adaptation of Peter Pan. Based on JM Barrie’s novelisation of his own play, Eleanor Rhode’s production emphasises the original’s reflections on mortality and, while it is still plenty of fun, this is richer than most Christmas shows.

Hickson has added a fourth Darling sibling to proceedings, glimpsed in the opening scene. His early death precipitates the parents’ descent into depression – it creates a reason for Neverland to exist.

As the reversal of the title hints, the focus is much more on Isobel McArthur’s spirited Wendy. She rebels against being cast in the role of Mother, takes up a sword to fight with her brothers. This leads to a confrontation with Tink – played by Sally Reid as a pure-radge Edinburgh psycho – and Bonnie Baddoo’s rather under-used Tiger Lilly, that explores why they always try to kill her.

Ziggy Heath’s Peter Pan has more complexities than is usual for the character. Gyuri Sarossy’s Hook is also aware of his own mortality in a way that goes beyond simple fear of a crocodile. He has an interesting relationship with Dorian Simpson’s well-pitched Smee.

Max Johns’ versatile set has the feel of a bright adventure playground in the scenes with the Lost Boys, although Mark Doubleday’s lighting scheme gives it a more sepulchral feel when it transforms into the pirate ship.

 

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Verdict
Dark, smart, nuanced adaptation of JM Barrie that gives Wendy a prominent and heroic role
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