A brilliant review of Peter Pan at Polka Theatre by Kerry Bratt, Drama teacher, mum and good friend from my teaching days.
Polka Theatre’s Christmas show is a tradition for many South London Families. Polka does theatre, Polka does not do glam and glitz, steer clear if you want Panto and celebrities. Polka does good old fashioned story telling created specifically for children; who get their first appetite for live imagined worlds within the walls of this magical building. Life long passion for live theatre starts here for many little faces and continues to grow within many big faces.
Polka Theatre promises world class theatre for children and it rarely disappoints. Peter Pan is this year’s offering and as usual it is spot on the mark for the theatre’s target audience.
Peter Glanville, artistic director of Polka Theatre has revisited the original text to create a pacey, fast moving narrative. Worlds change slickly and well loved characters appear reimagined but authentic. Tink is a puppet with a glowing heart, Peter and the children rise into the air before our very eyes before being transformed into puppets that soar to Neverland. There is smoke and music and lighting to transport us to magical lands and then there is the darkness. This production gets the danger and threat just right, the music and shadows create just enough fear to make it exciting, just enough to make you want to reach for Dad or snuggle a bit further into Mum but without the wails and tears of true fear. I think that it is really important for children to experience a sense of danger and foreboding and what better place to experiment with these feelings than in safety of Polka Theatre. The crocodile appears as a Doctor Who creature from inside a ticking Grandfather’s Clock, just nightmarish enough without being the object of future nightmares. Hook is bad but real, not pantomime just mean, Peter is likeable and just strange enough to be a lost rocker boy.
It was heart-warming to see such a full auditorium on a late November Saturday afternoon, our eight year old boy was transfixed throughout and the two younger children of the family in front of us literally bounced for joy as the house lights rose squealing “I Loved it, I Loved it!” Live theatre still surpassing small and big screen heroes; today in Wimbledon at least.
I highly recommend this show to parents with children aged 6+ as the target suggests. Long may the Polka Theatre create live performance to inspire, entertain and challenge, but never patronise generations of children to come….How wrong Mr Darling is…yes lets let the children imagine and fill their heads with stories and sweet, sweet nonsense.
The important stuff:
Running Time 1 hour 45 mins with interval
Suitable for 6 plus. (Children younger than 6 can only attend performances marked All Ages Welcome).
Adult and Child Tickets £17.50 Concessions £11.50
Polka Theatre Wimbledon I Until 14th February 2015 I +44 (0)20 8543 4888