“There’s something in the air tonight”
Just a quickie for this semi-staged concert version of Stiles + Drewe’s Peter Pan as my afternoon was pretty much ruined by the young family next to me, two toddlers quite literally running amok, uncontrolled by a mother who didn’t care that her children were repeatedly climbing over me. I’m all for theatres being more inclusive and welcoming to young’uns but the other side of that is that you have to prepare your children for the practicalities of sitting down for a couple of hours along with everyone else.
Which is a shame, as this is a rather sweet musical version of JM Barrie’s evergreen story of the boy who never grew up. Even with weird man-boy Ray Quinn in the lead role and the pantomimish Bradley Walsh as Captain Hook, there’s something really quite affecting about the child-like wonder of Stiles + Drewe’s interpretative skill, which still simultaneously offers up a more mature worldview – it’s easy to forget the deep sadness that lies at the heart of the story, Sheila Hancock’s Narrator providing some deeply moving moments.
Her forthcoming Grey Gardens co-star Jenna Russell was also present (and a big reason for booking) but somewhat underused here as the show’s focus is more on the younger characters. And Evelyn Hoskins’ Wendy rises to the challenge beautifully, an assured performance building on her work in Carrie, and Jack North’s excellent Nibs, a Lost Boy to rival even Peter in command. There’s fun to be had with the pirates too, Cameron Blakely’s Smee a stand-out, making this Peter Pan one that surely deserves a fully staged in a theatre sometime soon, albeit with a recommended age limit…