Peter Pan: Revisioned and directed by Liam Steel from J M Barrie’s original
The Birmingham Rep Theatre, Centenary Square
Runs: 2h 20m, one interval, till 19 Jan 2020
Tickets: 0121 236 4455
Info and Tickets: https://www.birmingham-rep.co.uk/
Review: Rod Dungate, 5 December 2019
Liam Steel’s revisioning of Peter Pan may jettison some of the Edwardian charm of the original but it gains much from its contemporary relevance. The charm if missed at all, will be missed by adults; the contemporary setting thrusts the story in our children’s real, harsh world, in which magic things can happen and will be much appreciated by children. Still also slightly refocuses the story to give it a more appropriate female weight. It is all done with confidence and good humour; precious moments are preserved (for instance I believe in fairies) but thankfully gone are the hard-to-take excesses of sentimentality.
Cora Tsang’s feisty Wendy drives everything along, she is apparently fostered into a family living in a high-rise flat. Lawrence Walker’s Peter Pan combines the playfulness of the character with his overt self-centredness – his representation of childhood has a hard edge.
The production never loses the fantastic tone of the original; however the debates within the story of (now 21st Century) freedom of childhood, roles and responsibility inherent in childhood and adulthood, are often to the fore. The children are given a multi-layered play which does not patronise them and gives them much to think and talk about.
The bad-ass band of Pirates are great fun, and Nia Gwynne gives us a dangerous Hook – but could go for the scare factor more. Her double act with Smee (Charlotte Merriam) is a source of much delight.
The occasional songs work extremely well, flowing naturally in and out of the narrative – with some sharp dancing.
Michael Pavelka’s scenography is first-class, imaginative and never holding up the action. The inventive creation of the crocodile is outstanding. Liam Steel directs his own adaptation with aplomb and vigour, giving us a terrific range of pace and tone. The result is a bold production, unusual and bringing its own important modern insights.
Pirate: Sia Alipour
Twin 1: Rose Ayling-Ellis
Twin 2: Faye Campbell
Slightly: John Carter
Pirate: Chris Charles
Starkey: Stavros Demetraki
John Darling: Kascion Franklin
Tink: Mirabelle Gremaud
Hook: Nia Gwyne
Nibs: Keiren Hamilton-Amos
Pirate: Luke Johnson
Michael Darling: Mollie Lambert
Smee: Charlotte Merriam
Tootles: Hannah Millward
Pirate: Luke Murphy
Curly: Dominic Owen
Pirate: Jocelyn Prah
Wendy: Cora Tsang
Peter: Lawrence Walker
Director & Co-Adapter: Liam Steel
Co-Adapter: Georgia Christou
Designer: Michael Pavelka
Costume Designer: Laura Jane Stanfield
Composer: Asaf Zohar
Lighting Designer: Lee Curran
Sound Designer: Christopher Shutt
Puppet Designer: Rachael Canning
Fight Director: Kate Waters
Rigger/Show Climber: Luke Murphy
Casting Director: Polly Jerrold
Associate Director: Madeleine Kludje
Accent and Dialect Coach: Abi Lumb