City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Peter Pan Review

By Gordon Clayton - Posted on 30 November 2009

Peter Pan at the Lyceum
Show Details
Royal Lyceum Theatre Company
Jemima Levik (Director), Francis O'Connor (Designer), Fleur Darkin (choreographer)
Peter Pan (Scott Fletcher), Wendy (Kim Gerard), Tinkerbell (Samuel Dutton), Captain Hook (Stuart Bowman)
Running time: 

In case you do not know the plot, Peter Pan is the boy who does not want to grow up, lives in the Never Land inhabited by indians, pirates, mermaids, and a crocodile who has swallowed a clock.

His companions, the lost boys, depend on Peter flying to the home of the Darling family and gleaning stories to bring back home, but one time he persuades Wendy, Michael and John to learn to fly and join him in Never Land.

Add Peter's companion Tinkerbell, a jealous fairy, a pirate captain with a hook, and a storyline that includes fights, killings, attempted poisoning, walking the plank and the man eating crocodile and you have all the ingredients for an exciting, magical evening that should stir the imagination of children.

This particular production is very much in keeping with the Royal Lyceum’s tradition of a play at Christmas as an antidote to the ‘panto’ offerings elsewhere. It's a show that you could take very young children and an elderly maiden aunt to without having any awkward questions about why are people laughing at what the man dressed up as woman has said.

In fact, this production has broken with tradition in that both Peter Pan and Tinkerbell are played by men. Scott Fletcher is a very engaging Peter and is equally at home on the stage and in flight. The decision to have an actor dressed in a tutu and flying helmet playing the fairy caused amusement to adults and children alike but perhaps having decided to go for comedy then it needs to be developed further.

The deathbed scene when audience participation saves the day lacked the drama that I have seen in other productions. Captain Hook, known to have given nightmares to some members of previous generations, is very benign in this show despite what he would like to do to Peter and his companions.

The set is a very large bed which serves a number of purposes: trebling up as the pirate ship and in raised position as the underground home of the lost boys as well as in the Darling home.

Director Jemima Levik uses the trapdoor effectively in the ship scene, but while the cast are colourfully dressed the stage is a bit sparse without more scenery or backcloths.

While it is common to have Mr. Darling and Captain Hook played by the same actor, Samuel Dutton had four roles and perhaps his face being seen by the audience as Nana the dog and then as Tinkerbell plus two other parts detracted from the overall magical experience of this wonderful play.

Wendy, John and Michael are played convincingly, although the lost boys could be a liitle less spotless.

Stuart Bowman looks the part as Mr Darling, but maybe needs to be a little nastier as Hook. His demise into the large crocodile was a highlight for most of the children.

Peter Pan has a magic that will continue to attract adults and children for years to come.

Peter Pan runs to 3rd January 2010

Edinburgh panto and christmas shows round-up