Paul Boyd’s new musical adaptation of Peter Pan is a thing of beauty. It keeps faith with both the narrative of JM Barrie’s story of the boy who refused to grow up and the spirit of Mabel Lucie Attwell’s charming illustrations for its first edition.
A combination of glorious sets, costumes and lighting effects, haunting music and expressive choreography successfully achieves a tricky balancing act between vintage and modern.
In a pretty nursery, sheltered by a starry sky, a sparky young girl called Wendy (Rhiannon Chesterman) is reading an exciting tale of pirates and fairies to her younger brothers Michael (Rea Campbell-Hill) and John (Christopher Finn). To their dismay, the last chapter is missing. The unannounced arrival at their window of Michael Mahony’s troubled bad boy Peter plunges them into the awfully big and perilous adventure that is that final episode.
A young group of local children forms the lost boys and wider ensemble, blending seamlessly with the top-notch professional cast, each one contributing excellent individual performances.
In keeping with Barrie’s early intentions, Allison Harding is a suitably threatening Captain Jess Hook. The theatrical highlight is the emergence of a trio of halo-haired mermaids, led with high camp operatic gorgeousness by Alan Richardson’s Queen Bah-Ree.