The Royal Lyceum Theatre
2–5 September, 19. 30 (also 5 September matineé, 14.30)
The tale of Peter Pan has inherent charm, but this artful, thoughtful production adds yet more magic.
‘Peter and Wendy’ is Barrie’s novelisation of his fairytale, and contains poignant segments regarding the nature of childhood which form the nucleus of this production.
Visuals are simple, iconic and symbolic; for example, Mrs Darling hugs floating shirts to her breast instead of full children, on their return from Neverland.
Karen Kandel is awe-inspiring as the central performer, portraying not just Wendy, but also narrating the story and voicing every other character. Her deep clear voice radiates confidence and humour, and is modified effortlessly to capture each individual.
All other characters are charming wood and papier-mâché puppets, manipulated by seven completely covered puppeteers, with Tinkerbell evoked by ethereal, golden finger-cymbals.
Playing from the boxes, a celtic band fills the theatre with lilting, longing, haunting notes which enchant but also ground the play in the real-world culture of Barrie’s childhood.
This is a tale which is richer from the adult’s perspective; poignant themes such as the loss of childhood can only be fully appreciated in this light. As such, it is pleasing to see a predominantly adult, and fully appreciative, audience.
The action elements will transfix most children, but the haunting beauty of pared-down visuals and subtle themes may be lost on some. It will certainly not, however, be lost on the misty-eyed, enchanted grown-ups.