This Christmas, the Mayflower Theatre is showing a new musical version of Peter Pan by Roger S. Moss and Robert Scott.
Here the well-known story is set in the present, with the explanation that the story repeats itself again and again and Wendy being the original Wendy’s grandaughter.
Peter Pan is played by Daniel Boys. I was a bit worried that he might look to old for the part, but in this version this works perfectly. I didn’t really warm to Katie Ray‘s Wendy. I always think Wendy should have a certain naivety and innocence about her and Katie’s more grown-up and assured take on her didn’t do it for me at all. Ben Richards as Captain Hook looks like he’s just jumped out of Pirates of the Carribean, great performance though. Lucy Benjamin as Mrs. Darling has a great voice and Les Dennis as Smee was very good too. In fact, the whole cast was, but the show itself just left me completely cold and not even the excellent cast could make up for its short-fallings.
The positive things first though, I thought the flying was very well done. I’m not usually a fan of projections (and the one at the beginning almost made me feel sea-sick), but the underwater scene in the Blue Lagoon looked absolutely stunning.
However, that’s as far as it goes. Musically, I though it was pretty forgettable. There is one good song (Never Stop Telling the Story), which is then reprised again and again until you can’t hear it anymore. But for me the biggest problem is that it’s just not really a musical. It’s more than a panto, but it still has so many elements of one in it. And why the pirates sing YMCA/In the Navy at one point is completely beyond me. Right now, it’s somewhere in between those two and just feels uninspired. It also dragged quite a bit in places. I was almost relieved when it was finished (with, surprisingly, a reprise of Never Stop Telling the Story…). It’s a shame, because it’s such a wonderful story, but this musical doesn’t do it any justice. It’s got potential, but the creative team should decide where they want to go with the story.
There is already a wonderful musical version of Peter Pan (by Stiles & Drewe), which is far superior to this one and it’s a shame that it’s not put on anywhere. It would have made for a far more entertaining evening, that’s for sure.
If you want to judge for youself, Peter Pan is on until the 14th January 2010