With this year’s production of Peter Pan, Chester’s Storyhouse has created one of its best seasonal shows to date. Gary Owen’s adaptation brings the setting and context into modern day Chester, while remaining gloriously faithful to JM Barrie’s 1904 stage work.
April Dalton’s set frees up the thrust stage to enable extraordinary amounts of flying, with Wired Aerial Theatre showing off its artistry from the outset. Elements such as illuminated window frames, rope ladders, kites and ball-pools combine with Jamie Jenkin’s video projections to conjure up the world of the story.
James Phoon’s Peter is refreshingly cocky. Not overly sweet, he plays Peter as a boy whose mischief stems from the axe he has to grind from his own broken upbringing. Together with Carlie Enoch’s mischievous Tinker Bell and Georgia Jackson’s sullen, protective Wendy, this central triangle really binds the tale together, while Imogen Slaughter gives us a modern take on Hook.
An onstage band adds subtle music while never overwhelming the storytelling, and puppetry, though sparingly used, adds a touch of magic. With its outstanding, youthful cast and wonderful attention to detail from director Martin Constantine, it’s hard to see how this production could be improved on. Festive family theatre rarely gets better than this.