Stripping J.M. Barrie’s classic tale back to its roots, Alan Pollock’s new take of PETER PAN has a whimsical, nostalgic, and magical charm.
With much of the country in Tier 3 and many theatres forced to remain closed due to Coronavirus restrictions, the annual Christmas theatre outing will likely be off the cards for many families this year. Thankfully, the Barn Theatre in Cirencester has brought their new production, PETER PAN, to life on the screen, allowing schools and families up and down the country a little piece of pixie dust this Christmas.
The new take on J.M. Barrie’s classic tale opens with a young father stuck in a hotel room on a dark and stormy night, three thousand miles away from home. Desperate not to miss bedtime, he calls his young daughter and recreates her favourite story, Peter Pan. Soon, what starts as a simple bedtime story, turns into an adventure like no other, as pirates, fairies, and a little boy who refuses to grow old, all come to life through movement, music and imagination.
Working in collaboration with Director Kirk Jameson and Composer Nick Barstow, Alan Pollock strips back the story of PETER PAN right back to its roots in this magical adaptation, focusing on its whimsical, nostalgic and magical charm.
Just one actor – Waylon Jacobs – portrays each character, acting out the bedtime story perfectly, his physicality and stage presence drawing you in from the moment he enters the space. As always, the risk with a one-man-show is that you run the risk of the stage feeling empty at times, but this is not the case here, with Jameson’s direction ensuring Jacobs utilises the full space to create a believable world.
Gregor Donnelly’s simple yet effective set design allows for some creative use of props, opening out to reveal a vast space in which Benjamin Collins projection design comes to life as the audience is transported to Neverland. Its moving animations, in the style of children’s drawings, opens the door into the imagination of the little girl, as the settings and characters come to life inside her head.
At just 60 minutes long, this is a true family show that is short enough to keep the kids entertained, yet charming enough to enthral the adults. While nothing will ever beat the feeling of the experience of live theatre, the creative team have done well to bring the production to life on screen, Collins’ projections leaping out of the screen, in a way it can’t do on stage. Even the odd dark scene, which can make it difficult to view on a small screen, doesn’t affect the overall viewing experience.
Tickets for the live stream performances are £13.50 with an option to add a £5 or £10 donation that will be shared between the Barn Theatre and Great Ormond Street Hospital. The Barn Theatre has also announced plans to make their production available for free to stream to hospitals and care homes over the festive period.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that we all need a bit of escapism in our lives, and while you can’t make anyone believe that they can remain young forever, for a few brief moments, PETER PAN allows us to entertain the belief that we might.
PETER PAN runs the Barn Theatre, Cirencester until 3 January 2021
Donna is the Founder and Editor of Frankly, My Dear UK. By day, she works as a digital marketing specialist, by night she reviews film, theatre and music for a wide range of publications including WhatsonStage and The Reviews Hub. Loves Formula 1, prosecco and life.