REVIEW: PETER PAN (National Theatre) ★★★★
After a sell out run at the Bristol Old Vic, Sally Cookson bring her version of PETER PAN to the National Theatre this Christmas. This isn’t a pantomime, there are no pop songs or clipboard holding celebrities, but a serious retelling of this much loved JM Barrie childrens classic.
In return for helping him find his shadow and sew it back on, Peter Pan takes Wendy to his home of Neverland, where she takes on the role of mother to the Lost Boys. Together they battle with Pirates, Fairies and even a Crocodile. But sometimes the novelty of never growing up wares off and Wendy has to decide whether to return to her old life or stay with them forever.
This production of Peter Pan makes no apologies for its use of harnesses and bungee cords to help the characters fly, in fact they make it part of the story, by having to attach their ‘flying strings’ It is cleverly done and is an interesting concept to integrate it into the show.
Saikat Ahamed gives an interesting portrayal of Tinker Bell, with his own fairy language he screams around the stage causing mischeif in both a loveable and equally annoying way. Gender bending doesn’t stop there, with Anna Francolini taking on the evil role of Captain Hook in a very wicked witch way. She is a joy to watch and shows us different sides to Hook’s personality that we don’t usually see in his character. Madeleine Worrall is warm and comforting as Wendy and anyone would be lucky to have her as their mother. She is softly spoken and loving to everyone she meets. Paul Hilton brings Rik Mayall back to life with his Drop Dead Fred take on Peter Pan, the free spirited and mischevious boy who never grew up. Stealing my heart in this show was Ekow Quartey as the loveable Nana, the human dog with puppy dog eyes. Lois Chimimba bring girl power to the National Theatre with her fiesty and strong minded Tiger Lily.
PETER PAN is a classic story, beautifully told on stage at the National Theatre. If you’re looking for something a bit different for this time of year, go and check it out.
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Photo: Steve Tanner
PETER PAN plays at the National Theatre until 4 February 2017