Lost Boy at the Finborough
2014 is the centenary of the First World War and for director Phil Whillmott the anniversary seemed the perfect occasion to put on a show based on his research, including Jungian theories on dreams and the death of innocence. Lost Boy was born when he realised how many of those children who first read Peter Pan’s adventures were probably afterwards involved in the Great Conflict; the musical is inspired by Whillmott’s considerations on the matter.
Taking its name from the crew that accompanies Peter Pan, Lost Boy may appear to be centred on the boy who wouldn’t grow up, but gives enough space to most of the other characters too. The audience sees how Whillmott believes the kids from Neverland would be as adults, setting them against the hostile backdrop of WWI and following their vicissitudes, each of them dealing with their own dilemmas.
On the eve of battle Captain George Llewellyn Davies confronts his worries about the war and those of the squad he’s in charge of. As he rests, he starts dreaming, drifting off to a fantasy world in which he is Peter Pan. He is enticed by Wendy to eventually leave his childhood behind and, seduced, he accepts to do so – ending up in trouble once more.
Growing pains severely aggravated by the horrors of the conflict are Lost Boy’s scenario. Themes such as the discovery of sex, jealousy and pride are explored and the story evolves through short interwoven acts.
The musical is fairly long, and for some reason there’s the impression that the story is too rushed and lacking cohesion. There are some funny moments thoughout and the actors on the whole give a convincing performance. Their singing skills are particularly impressive – especially Grace Gardner’s, whose ability during Wendy’s Song is incontestable. Her acting is a little doubtful instead, but perhaps her constant smiley expression is inherent to the character she portrays and thus justified. Less understandable is Steven Butler’s (George/Peter Pan) constant frown – even when he should convey happiness he looks irritated. However, it could be due to his rebellious nature. Andrew C. Wadsworth is also more credible as Captain Hook, rather than when impersonating Mr Darling. Look out for Joseph Taylor as Michael.
Lost Boy could have been better put together but its twist on a literature classic is worth a go.
Photo: Scott Rylander
Lost Boy is on at the Finborough until 11th January 2014, then moving to the Charing Cross Theatre from 13th January until 15th February. For further information or to book visit here.