PETER Pan is a familiar story with a difference in Linsey O’Neill’s version for Castle Players, on until Saturday 1st February.
It’s set in the present day, Nana is a stuffed dog, and the “dame” (because this IS a pantomime) is Tinkerbill, brother to Tinkerbelle – a guy who’s always wanted to be a fairy and so appears in a pink tutu with wings. He nips about with aplomb, sprinkling fairy dust and hiding in an invisibility cloak.
The oldest Darling boy falls for Tiger Lily, with whom he tries to sing Somewhere from West Side Story, many times but without success, thanks to the interference of the rest of the cast.
Peter is a chunky 30ish male and the stagehand has a leading role.
There are lots and lots of one-liners, but the diction from the young cast sometimes makes it difficult to hear the catchlines.
All that said, it’s full of inspired ideas and lots of action, and the main part of the immortal tale – the flying, the pirates, the crocodile and the return home – are all there.
There’s a marvellous scene when Bill (Scott Sullivan) dies, drafted straight in from the Pyramus and Thisbe death in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Chris Bunn, a Castle panto stalwart, has a very energetic time as the stagehand.
Poor of Capt Hook is constantly mistaken by the sound engineers for Dr Hook, and so falls in love with a beautiful wumm-er (listen to it!) at almost every entrance.
There are lots of songs, and Martha Jenkins as Wendy and Peter Burden’s Hook, as well as Hanna Bushnell’s Tiger Lily, excel in the singing.
The pirates are a lively lot, and international, too, with Grenouille and his struggles with English, and Flea (the excellent Becker Sullivan) doing a neat job of translating from the French into something else ???
This is a real family show, set firmly in the local community. Four family groups are in the cast and backstage team, and everyone at the first matinee audience was keen to see their friends on stage.
With a bit more volume this will be a real winner, with its now-traditional Castle battle in which the audience throws missiles at the baddies on stage.