Theatre Review: Peter Pan, until 3 January, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

14 Dec

Peter Pan

*****

Opening in a highly stylised version of the bedroom of Darling children Wendy, Michael and John, their oversized bed taking up most of the available space as they prepare to drift off to sleep, the Lyceum’s latest Christmas production appears to be standard Victorian-era fayre, at least until a certain young boy flies through the window.

The appearance of Peter Pan (Scott Fletcher) and Tinker Bell (Samuel Dutton), the latter clad in a tutu and flight helmet, leads to the start of an adventure which will take the pair and their new friends away from their parents – Irene MacDougall and Stuart Bowman – and off to the distant Never Land.

As the band of travellers set up home in Peter’s underground lair, Wendy (Kim Gerard) becoming “mother” to a group of Lost Boys along the way, there’s danger in the shape of the nefarious Captain Hook (Bowman again, seemingly channelling the late, great Iain Cuthbertson in his performance) and his crew of pirates, a man desperate to end Peter’s fun once and for all.

Taking centre stage for most of the production are Fletcher and Lyceum-regular Gerard, the pair hitting their stride early on as Wendy attempts to sew Peter’s shadow back on.

There’s a playfulness here that is infectious, helped in no small measure by the scene-stealing Dutton as the incomprehensible Tinker Bell, his rapport with the younger members of the audience threatening to overshadow the drama taking place elsewhere.

The clever use of the original bedroom set to represent rocks, a house and even a ship helps reinforce the idea that Peter’s world is one derived from make believe while moments of reality represented by Wendy and Tiger Lily’s displays of affection subtly show what it is he’s missing by remaining a child.

Director Jemima Levick’s new telling of Peter Pan breathes new life into a story which has become familiar to generations of children through animated films and references in popular culture. Levick is assisted in her task by a gorgeously understated score from Philip Pinsky and Francis O’Connor’s impressive set design which oozes quality.

With the audience clearly lapping up the story – more than once children could be heard shouting at Peter as Hook crept up on him or laughing at the escapades of Tinker Bell – this is truly a show for all ages, a flight of fancy from a century-old play with themes which still resonate today.

Visit the Lyceum Theatre website for full booking information.

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3 Responses to “Theatre Review: Peter Pan, until 3 January, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh”

  1. katie smith 29 December, 2009 at 9:53 pm #

    the peterpan pantomime at the lyceum theater 2009 was THE WORST pantomime i have ever seen! It was nothing like the original and i left half way during the production

  2. wanda collins 29 December, 2009 at 10:37 pm #

    the peter pan pantomime at the lyceum theater 2009 in edinburgh is HORIBLE .DON`T be conned by the lyceum reviews. During the first 20 minutes wendy was having a BABY- what has THAT got to do with peter pan?!I am 11 years old and It was the worst pantomime I have ever seen!!!!!!!!!!! It was horrible and offencive and BORING. I wish I had been taken
    to the Kings Theatre instead!!!!!!!! I was looking forward to my Christmas treat but was very disappointed.Parents ,don’t waste your money taking your children to see this pantomime.It is not the classic peter pan.We left early,but I wish we’d left after the first five minutes!

  3. jmichaelcox 1 January, 2010 at 10:42 pm #

    While I do have to agree with the notion that the Lyceum’s Peter Pan is not very good, it certainly wasn’t horrible. And I have to also question both responses when they say it was nothing like the original. With respect, it was a lot closer to the original than most productions I’ve seen (and I have seen a lot). That includes Wendy pretending to have children in the beginning (though I’ve never seen the character directed to actually give birth onstage before). It just goes to show you how imprinted we are with JM Barrie’s creation, that we all have our own version of the characters and plot.

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