THEATRE REVIEW: Peter Pan ★★★
The Barn Theatre, Cirencester
Saturday 21st November 2020 - Sunday 3rd January 2020
Reimagining J.M Barrie's most famous piece of work, Peter Pan, sounds like a recipe of success for The Barn Theatre, especially with a team that combines Director Kirk Jameson (Marry Me a Little), Set Designer Gregor Donnelly (Daddy Long Legs, Marry Me a Little), and Versatile Performer Waylon Jacobs (Hamilton, Memphis, We Will Rock You) at it's helm. The production, which is playing till early January, recently announced that it will be streaming internationally from 23rd Dec till 3rd Jan 2020, and from the atmosphere alone this gala night evening, you should most definitely get the family gathered around the fire for this magical production.
For the most part, this 60 minute retelling certainly whisks you away to Neverland with Jacobs beautiful ease in re-enacting the story, that will astound you with captivating realism in poetic projections layered underneath, but it all feels as though it has to rush with elaborate wording and dialogue that feels heavy on moments that should instead be explored through movement, which when does get thrown on the stage, Tosh Wanogho-Maud's sores with characterisation that brings Peter, and the ghastly Hook, to life.
Elsewhere, in a background to the story that centers on a father acting this tale to his daughter over a video call, with visual and voiceover provided by Georgia Dibbs, whilst in a hotel room (which is never explained as to why this is the case) the setup suddenly feels lost when we journey to Neverland; whilst we are most certainly meant to believe that this father is in himself encapsulated in his own world as Peter and his newfound friends, unnecessary plot points from his real life feel shoehorned in, most notably when a male family member is mentioned near the climax with no prior context that has actually carried the performance previously, and that feels frustrating and unwanted. The finale also falls flat in failing to provide a suitable ending to the fairytale, with the barn's versionin leaving you with a lull and no definite conclusion circling back to this father and daughter bond that was built upon at the beginning.
Technically, the production oozes charism with the previously mentioned projections, that are slick and mesmerising, and will have you visualising throughout, even when there is a lack of them. Joe Price's Lighting sparkles with joy and tension in the most theatrical way, whilst musically, again just like the projections, in most part feels feels like there is a lack of, and could be more utilised in the latter confrontations, especially between Pan and Hook, instead of being treated to a rather underwhelming combat sequence.