“You must think of something wonderful...a sight, a smell, a sound...” sings Peter Pan as he teaches Wendy, John and Michael the secret of flying in this adaptation of the classic J M Barrie story; and the audience does not have to search for long to find something to carry them away in this magical production from Sutton Coldfield Musical Theatre Company (SCMTC).
The show has been brought to life by a particularly strong production team who have left no-one standing still, no part of the stage empty. Stiles and Drewe’s beautiful score runs from heart-warming lullaby and sweeping ballads to punchy fight songs and comic duets. In a space that can be tricky to achieve a balance between band and performers, the sound quality under Sheila Pearson’s musical direction is excellent. The company tackle each change with a vibrant performance that has been packed full of little details by director Faye O’Leary so much so that the audience barely know where to look first in a scene and there are constant surprises for the audience. The attention to detail is paired with meticulous, high-energy choreography from Maggie Jackson spanning warrior battle routines to pirate sword fights and even morris dancing – ‘The Lost Boys Gang’ was one of the best choreographed pieces I have seen in amateur performance for a long time. Overall, the result is a finely tuned production in which it is evident that each performer is relishing in their individual characters and every second of their time on stage.
Patrick Jervis gives a confident performance in the title role and is well-matched with Lucy Charnock as Wendy Darling, who shone particularly in the tricky argumentative duet One Big Adventure. Pete Beck’s Captain Hook has just the right mix of charm and villainy, while Craig Allen is the perfect cheeky counterpart as Smee. Aoife Kenny exudes stage presence in every scene for Tiger Lily and her Braves, Chris Buckle (John) and Alex Nicholls (Michael) are perfectly cast as the Darling children, while Carly Hyland brings warmth and emotion to the role of Mrs Darling and collectively the characterisation in the Lost Boys Gang was a sheer joy to watch.
The stories and characters of Neverland have endured for over 100 years and showed no sign of disappearing at Lichfield Garrick Theatre this evening. A little girl in the queue for the bathroom just wanted to be Tiger Lily and had already mastered her warrior choreography, a grown-up gentleman leaving the theatre had ambitions to be Pan as he demonstrated his flying technique and there were many young boys walking tall out of the theatre with a look of rebellious lost boy – or piracy - about them... this is truly a show for the whole family and one not to be missed this half term.
As for this Love Midlands Theatre reviewer... I left a fully dedicated member of the Lost Boys’ gang and shall head to bed dreaming of the Second Star to the Right, pirates, crocodiles and awfully big adventures.
The production runs until Saturday with two special half-term matinee performances. Start your own adventure and book your tickets today!
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