Wednesday, July 6

Peter Pan – Barn Theatre

With this one-man adaptation of the classic family tale, the Barn Theatre has another success on their hands. Equally as thrilling as it is heart-warming, this version transports the audience from normality to Neverland. All with the help of that famous, ever-youthful boy.

There have been countless retellings of J.M.Barrie’s creation and everyone has their favourites. From the big screen (“Hook” coming to mind, whereas I wish I could erase “Pan” from it) to stage musicals such as “Finding Neverland”, it is obvious that the appeal for the pixie-dust sprinkled adventure has not faltered. Playing on the universal appeal for the story, the Barn team have created a play with family at its forefront.

Waylon Jacobs (Hamilton) plays a travelling father who is coaxed into a bedtime story from his daughter on a video call. Jacobs delights with a ridiculously dynamic performance; both vocally and physically. He narrates with detail and creativity in every choice he makes. A personal favourite of mine was his depiction of Captain Hook. Aided by some clever shadowing, his commanding low tone emanates a chilling, powerful air.  With changes of movement and characteristics, he distinctively plays each role and showcases his magnificent skill.

Photo: Eve Dunlop

The creatives have also outdone themselves here. This version of the story asks for the simple set of a hotel room to transform into such otherworldly locations as the Jolly Roger and the mermaid lagoon. The magic begins when the back wall drops and, with the assistance of the technical elements, we are magically transported. The lighting design of Joe Price assists and adapts to each location, and it also creates tension within the fight scenes. I was amazed by the artwork within the projections; they wouldn’t look out of place on the pages of a children’s novel. But these designs came alive, with the direction of Benjamin Collins, and became utterly enchanting. Sound effects and original music, from Nick Barstow, added another layer to the storytelling. It kept the atmosphere enticing, whether it be whimsical or eerie.

When all parts of the team come together so successfully, it means for a fantastic experience. Under the direction of Kirk Jameson, it feels like this play has ticked all of the boxes. I loved that the audience wasn’t given a full-on, embellished production. The components all working in unison also asked for a little imagination. And isn’t that what the story of Peter Pan asks of everybody? It asks you to just believe.

Playing online until 3rd January 2021, find full details and booking information at https://barntheatre.org.uk/

Reviewer: Coral Mourant

Reviewed: 11th December 2020

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★

0Shares