On the Rocks Review: Peter Pan
The Byre Theatre, 22 April 2011
Rating: * * * *
From the moment of walking into the main auditorium of the Byre, there was magic in the air. For one thing, this matinee performance was family heavy in terms of audience and the laughter and chatter of children throughout the theatre set the perfect ambience. Children are not an easy audience, yet Peter Pan captivated the many expectant faces surrounding me. The iconic moment of audience participation to spare the life of Tinkerbell enchanted the children, and allowed the older members of the audience to revel in the magic.
With a cast of 30, there could easily have been moments of utter confusion, but the story was always told clearly, with every single actor on stage fully committing to their role. With a wonderful set designed by Andrew Muir, the play moved swiftly from the cosy atmosphere of the Darling children’s bedroom to the wonder of Neverland. The transitions were smooth, with a very competent Kelly Diepenbrock stage managing. The somewhat terrifying prospect of flying children was a talking point of the show, and yet there was nothing to be afraid of, and the joy of seeing characters flying across the stage made the entire show.
Beth Robertson’s touching performance as Peter Pan held the show together, with an equally moving performance from Lucy Gillam as Wendy. The children, John and Michael – played by Guy Wade and George Lorimer respectively – had wonderful energy and comic timing, and lifted the entire play. Lorenzo De Boni’s Smee worked perfectly alongside an evil Hook (Sebastian Carrington-Howell), and the Darling parents (Joe Potts and Kristine Erwin) were pitch-perfect. Susie Coreth’s physicality as Nana was wonderful and engaged the audience from the second the play began. With the incredibly talented Jonathan Durie and Vicki Grace at the helm, Peter Pan was never going to be anything other than a success; however, the sheer magic of the performance was unexpectedly lovely.
Image by James McDonald