Peter Pan - review
National Theatre

Words by: Lloyd Lewis Hayter | Published: Monday, December 5, 2016 1:33 PM
Jane (Amaka Okafor), PETER PAN (c) Steve Tanner Jane (Amaka Okafor), PETER PAN (c) Steve Tanner

The production's focus on fun never stops you from being able to relate to the touching themes at the heart of the story”.

One of the most magical moments of children's theatre is when age becomes irrelevant and moments of joy and discovery connect an entire audience. Moments like these are sprinkled throughout The National's new adaptation of J M Barrie's much loved Peter Pan (see listing).


Brought to life by cartoon like characters even before arriving at Neverland, the production's focus on fun never stops you from being able to relate to the touching themes at the heart of the story. Following the success of last year's Jan Eyre, director Sally Cookson and leading lady Madeleine Worrall reunite with a play that has again started with an acclaimed run at Bristol's Old Vic. Never a damsel in distress, Wendy is the headstrong star of this show, giving Peter plenty of chances to remind us all of the fantastic ways of females.


Mrs Darling (Anna Francolini), Wendy (Madeleine Worrall), Michael (John Pfumojena), John (Marc Antolin) and Nana (Ekow Quartey). PETER PAN (c) Steve Tanner Mrs Darling (Anna Francolini), Wendy (Madeleine Worrall), Michael (John Pfumojena), John (Marc Antolin) and Nana (Ekow Quartey). PETER PAN (c) Steve Tanner

Most reminiscent of Rick Mayall’s 1991 character Fred from the 1991 film Drop Dead Fred, Tristan Sturrock's Peter Pan is the perfect mix of mischief and naivety. With the cast tripling up as lost boys, pirates and more, there are moments to shine for all. Captain Hook and Tiger Lilly add a further feminist touch with Anna Francolini as a menacing, lonely Hook evocative of a typical Helena Bonham Carter character, and Lois Chimimba as the raring to go Tiger Lily. Both fresh from leading roles in The National's 2015 take on Alice in Wonderland, garnering very mixed reviews, here there is only room for perfection.


Tinker Bell (Saikat Ahamed) and Peter Pan (Paul Hilton), PETER PAN (c) Steve Tanner Tinker Bell (Saikat Ahamed) and Peter Pan (Paul Hilton), PETER PAN (c) Steve Tanner

After meeting Peter, there is of course one character that the audience are always waiting excitedly to see what form they will show up in, and this is a Tinkerbell like no other you've come across before. Gender roles are flipped yet again as Saikat Ahamed bumbles on to the stage, taking Tinkerbell's infamous jealousy over Peter and Wendy's relationship to hilarious new levels, whilst of course not passing up the opportunity to have the audience on the edge of their seats as the moment everyone's been waiting for forces us to admit that we do indeed believe in fairies.



Info: Peter Pan is at the National Theatre until 4 February 2017 / see listing




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