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Review: The Lost Boy Peter Pan, at Pleasance Theatre

Stripped-down version of the children’s classic has defiant exuberance of the JM Barrie original, but carries a darker edge

08 December, 2017 — By Angela Cobbinah

Wesley Lineham in The Lost Boy Peter Pan. PHOTOS: THE OTHER RICHARD

THERE’S hardly been a Christmas without a Peter Pan but Action To The Word’s production is the first I’ve seen as a rock musical.

In this stripped-down version of the children’s classic, the amazingly talented seven-strong ensemble double up as musicians and singers and between them are able to play all the colourful characters that populate Neverland without any of the joins showing; and that’s despite being dressed in pyjamas throughout, give or take a few prop changes.

Written and directed by Alexandra Spencer-Jones, the story of the boy who never wanted to grow up possesses the defiant exuberance of the JM Barrie original but carries a darker edge.

Peter Pan, played by an energetic and engaging Toby Falla, is the free spirit we all love but he also comes across as annoyingly petulant and immature, while Captain Hook, an impressive Wesley Lineham, may be the panto-type baddie but cuts a sad and lonely figure that excites our sympathy rather than ridicule.

As for Wendy, an empathetic Hannah Haines, she appears to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown thanks to Peter’s emotional lockdown. To be sure, there are lessons to be learnt about life, relationships and conduct in the story, but at times they appear rather heavy-handed here.

Still, the joyful wildness manages to reassert itself and there is hardly a dull moment as the musical accompaniment of rock and pop classics and seamless scene changes drive the narrative on. It must be hard to stage a fight scene while playing instruments at the same time, but this lot managed to pull it off.

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