Friday, 12 June 2009

Peter Pan - Kensington Gardens

Peter Pan by JM Barrie
Adapted: Tanya Ronder
Director: Ben Harrison
Music Composer: Benjamin Wallfisch
Choreography: Fleur Darkin
Reviewer: Ayla Pektekin

Peter Pan, a classic character whose story has been lost
over the years through pantomime and Disney adaptations. Now JM Barrie’s classic returns as a play in the very place the author was inspired to write it, Kensington Gardens. The production takes place in a luxurious 1,100 tier seating circular pavilion, giving the audience greater connection to the stage, making it an intimate experience. While William Dudley’s state of the art 360-degree CGI projected scenery brings a new and exciting experience to the play.

A play for both children and adults the production is a mixture of fun and emotion. One of the highlights of the show is the spectacular aerial sequence where Peter, Tinkerbell and the Darling children fly over London to Neverland, giving the full effect of th
e CGI projection. The show has some great action packed swashbuckling scenes directed by Nicholas Hall and plenty of comedy from Tinkerbell, the lost boys and Captain Hooks fear of the crocodile. But keeping faithful to Barrie’s original, the play includes serious tones with Wendy’s sexual desires and Peter’s denials of adulthood.

The play indeed holds state of the art CGI but also includes traditional theatre techniques of puppetry directed by Sue Buckmaster, which brings back the feeling of a classic story. Itxaso Moreno plays Tickerbell as not just a naughty fairy but a scowling, grubby fairy with rock influence. Abby Ford captures Wendy’s feelings of a child verging onto adulthood with her growing feelings for Peter. Ciaran Kellgren plays a more serious Peter than usually seen, which
gives the character greater depth exploring his innocence, denial and anger. Though not the title character, Captain Hook played by Jonathan Hyde is the real star of the show, capturing the classic pirate with humour and fear.

The only real damper on the show is the title character Peter Pan not living up to the expectations of being the main attraction that this classic fairy tale is based on and instead having his enemy Captain Hook steal the show from him. Overall a magical evening with a fusion of both old and new effects, humour and emotion, intimacy and action; making it a show for young and old.

Photos: Simon Annand
Peter Pan runs at Kensington Gardens until Sunday 30th August 2009.
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