Peter Pan at Park Theatre
Before the famed novel of The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up there was a play which JM Barrie described as a “fantasy in five acts”, and whilst this production – set in 2018 and imaginatively directed by Jonathan O’Boyle – isn’t without its problems, there’s certainly enough enchantment to have you believing in fairies at the Park Theatre this Christmas.
Keeping mainly to the original text of Barrie’s 1904 whimsical yet twisting play, the drama deals with old-fashioned gender roles – girls weak and teary, dreaming of mermaids and boys strong and fearless, preoccupied with pirates – as well as exploring emerging sexuality, the fears of youth and the lost boys’ desperate search for a mother. This creative update still sprinkles a fair amount of modern touches throughout, such as patriarchal man-child Mr Darling (Alexander Vlahos) on his iPhone with Siri before the actor swaps his Apple device for a deliciously evil and amusing rendition of the vengeful pirate Captain Hook. His sparkling interplay with long-suffering and endearing sidekick Smee (brilliantly delivered by Natalie Grady) is certainly one of the show’s many highlights.
Hook’s heroic flying nemesis is played by Nickcolia King-N’Da, who brings both enthralling energy and lovable innocence to Peter Pan, whose simple goal is to “always be a boy and have fun”. His scenes with a charming Wendy (Rosemary Boyle) are particularly sweet and naive as the girl tries desperately to steal a kiss from him.
With a versatile and talented cast of only eight (Harveen Mann taking on five roles to great acclaim) upon an intimate stage, the show keeps you absorbed at every step, and thanks to Gregor Donnelly’s ingenious set and costume design (Nana the canine nurse and the crocodile in particular), the worlds of the nursery and Neverland are cleverly blended to great effect.
If you needed another reason to go and see Peter Pan at the Park Theatre, it should also be noted that all royalties from this fantastically entertaining production are going Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Photos: Chris Gardner
Peter Pan is at Park Theatre from 6th December until 5th January 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.