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Peter Pan Soars

The Lower School recently put on an outstanding performance of Peter Pan and we sent Languages teacher, Mr Pollard, to review the show.

The School production of J.M. Barrie’s classic Peter Pan flew into the Winterflood Theatre on a particularly scorching Tuesday evening this term. The basic premise of the tale of a boy who chooses never to grow up is familiar across generations, but this excellent staging had so much more to offer, not least the humour which pervades Trevor Nunn and John Caird’s 1980s adaptation.

At the show’s heart is Pan himself, played quite brilliantly by Brihad in a performance which really made us yearn for a world in which permanent, youthful joie-de-vivre were a realistic life choice. He led the show with pitch-perfect emotion and provided huge pathos in the moving final tableau. Although Pan rails against the adult world and the tendency of its inhabitants to simply spoil young people’s fun, the play, like all great children’s writing, contains some great one-liners, not least from the excellent Wendy, the mother-of-choice for the motherless children, who in a particularly acute moment of parental exasperation, wonders whether, in fact, a spinster’s lot may have been a happier one.

The innocence of the children is pitted against the darkly comic and frankly inept evil of the infamous Captain James Hook. Lucas’s real crime was threatening to steal every scene in which he appeared. Sporting a wig which must have come straight from the dressing up box at Versailles, he made great use of his voice and stage presence, supported by his hapless, well-drilled pirates who filled the set with energetic evil and provided an effective antidote to the more lyrical aspects of the piece. Hook’s death provided a highpoint for Media Technician Toby’s superb multimedia backdrop. The pirate scenes were particularly well-lit and reminded us just how much work had been done behind the scenes by the technical team.

Peter Pan was book-ended by the four storytellers, who began and ended the show with real presence and clarity. Their impeccable diction set the standard from the start. The production truly was an ensemble success, although one should mention the great moments provided by brothers Bryan and Cedric and the hilarious appearances by Tinkerbell and her propensity to call people a “silly ass”.

The fact that the flying sequences were staged so professionally merely confirmed just what a quality production this was. At the show’s conclusion the applause went far beyond what one would expect from a group of parents and friends acknowledging their children and confirming their ongoing belief in fairies. As the cast took their bows two things really stood out. First, the obvious enjoyment which they had gained from the performance and secondly, the respect they had for each other. This will be the legacy of the production and we will look back on it in years to come as the early work of future CLS/CLSG star actors.

The innocence of the children is pitted against the darkly comic and frankly inept evil of the infamous Captain James Hook.
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