Peter Pan and Wendy
Aubyn Live Theatre, St Aubyn St Hastings.
Until Sunday, April 24
Reviewed by Keith Russell
Although James M Barrie gave us the classic and beloved story of Peter Pan, writer Eric Stedman gives us his version, designed for ease of performance along with some new songs.
Some of the more difficult aspects of the original and other musical versions have been eliminated and director Kendra Campbell has presented us with a lively, compact show that will keep even the youngest members of the audience entertained.
From the moment the narrator, played by Megan Bristow, whose confident and well-projected voice starts our journey with the Darling children, the action never wanes.
Peter Pan is a magical flying boy and Blake Campbell's arrival through the window and into our hearts was well done.
Amber Bisley arrived soon after as his shadow and, with her dual role of Princess Tiger Lily, she had the unenviable task of communicating to the audience with hand moments and facial expressions alone. Both she did with great skill.
Oscar Campbell did great service as her translator, Little Panther. His voice is projecting better now that he is older.
Bevan Bisley was confident in his role of Captain Hook. He dominated the stage as he communicated to the audience, although he was well assisted by the expressive Matt Aplin as Mr Smee.
We had seven entertaining performers in the role of the Lost Boys. They were costumed well, spoke clearly and it is no wonder they were offered a new home - where, you will have to see the show to find out.
Holly Evans took on the difficult role of Tinkerbell and was soon the audience favourite. Her character is non-speaking although she does get to sing near the end of the show. This would be hard for an older actor but moving purposely about the stage, her performance belied her young years.
Musical director Sarah Rogers has done a good job with both the individual and ensemble singing and the choreographers have done well with their young charges.
The presentation by dancers Emma Bowden and Margaux Hanger in the opening scene is a lesson for other companies to follow: smile, look confident and the rest will be easy.
Simple sets with some clever lighting along with some effective costumes were all the cast required to provide us with a magical journey - in my case, back to my childhood.
This is not a pantomime, more of a musical, but it does contain mermaids, fairies, pirates, natives, lost boys and, above all, a place called Neverland.
How did they do the flying scenes? Well, "I believe."