Review: Peter Pan

‘I do believe in fairies, I do, I do!’

Serving as a spellbinding adventure as well as an incredibly well-presented performance, SUTCO’s Peter Pan conveyed all of the magic I believe J.M. Barrie intended on when writing it. Through a combination of flawless choreography, incredible individual performances and an indefinable energy that the cast possessed, the story of the boy who never grew up was truly brought to life.

Firstly, it would be impossible not to credit Tom Dixon’s performance as Peter, as his personification of innocence had even the more mature members of the audience believing that he really could stay young forever. His portrayal of naivety was both charming and convincing, and had the audience erupting into laughter as well as reminiscing about their childhood. At times I even found myself wishing to step through the window in centre stage and back to the carefree times that were being acted out in front of me, though the casts’ ability to convey childlike innocence certainly did not prevent their ability as actors to shine through.

Indeed, the well-oiled sword fight between Pan and his nemesis Captain Hook (Paul Hilliar) was pleasantly surprising, and it was evident that a great deal of time had been put into perfecting the choreography.

One downside however was the somewhat stunted portrayal of Tinkerbell (Kate Butler) – though clearly not lacking in acting skill, the potential for her character could have been explored further. As a mute in the play, this left plenty of opportunity for comic translations of her actions by Dixon, but more participation in the play from Tinkerbell herself could have only enhanced the production further.

In regards to what was lacking, the only letdown was the set for Neverland; although it provided a contrast to the Darling children’s bedroom, it could certainly have been expanded further in order to support the whimsical nature of the characters and the plot. However, the absence of some props only willed the audience (myself included) to exercise our imaginations the way the Lost Boys did, in order to visualise the scene.

Paul Hilliar performed excellently in both of his roles, and yet again had the audience reverting to a childlike state as he struck fear into our hearts as Captain Hook. As Mr Darling, he and the rest of the Darlings gave a convincing insight into family life. Undoubtedly, the most lovable member of the family was Nana (James Travers), the bumbling dog in charge of the children’s well-being. His portrayal was part of an all round excellent performance, and the fits of giggles from the children sitting behind me spoke volumes in terms of just how enchanting it truly was.

SUTCO’s Peter Pan appeals to all ages and shows that there is a part in all of us, however big or small, that really doesn’t grow up.

8/10

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