When we meet 13 year old Wendy she is adventuring across London on her own to visit her Dad. London is stunningly represented by moving digital projections which immediately have my heart beating faster, this is a visually inspiring piece of theatre, and a very slick retelling of Peter Pan.
Wendy’s parents have split up, her Mum lives in Knightsbridge while her Dad lives in a bedsit near the children’s home he works in ‘Neverland’.
Neverland is a musical, as Wendy moves through London she sings of her big adventure and she picks up with her Dad once more through the medium of song, his advice to stay a child as long as possible frames the show beautifully.
The cool teenager characters, on the cusp of growing up, grabbed my 9 year old daughter’s attention. They navigated the space between being a child and a grown up beautifully. This is a production that works for all ages, with the recommended age being 4 plus.
When Peter Pan sneaks through the window wearing a red beanie and red converse, with a delicious Irish accent, it’s clear this is not the green lycraed Pan of Disney films, but a cheeky and modern worldly wise Pan, Peter is an orphan in the children’s home, the last to be fixed up with foster parents before the home is demolished.
After 15 minutes my daughter tugged my arm and whispered in my ear:
‘I really like this.’
Both kids were spellbound. Afterwards she said:
‘It was wonderfully adventurous and inspiring to kids whatever their problems. All the acting was great. My favourite bit is when Peter and Wendy fly over London.’
L aged 9.
It is Peter’s bedroom that caught my 7 year old son’s attention. At first the mind boggles, how can the production possibly turn this small room into the stuff of Neverland? With more stunning projections, clever physical theatre and props the bedroom skilfully navigates the magic of this foreign land. It’s exactly how my son plays in his room, some days I almost see the blue mist as everything on the floor jumbles into a mysterious land.
‘I liked the ninja teddies, I loved how the lost boys were his teddies. I want one!’
G aged 7
Neverland has a rich narrative with lots of layers, which keeps us guessing. But it’s also works as a really simple story about children’s play coming to life. How incredibly refreshing to find children’s theatre that plays on so many levels, and for such a wide age range.
Superbly acted by a energetic cast of three, on a fabulously effective revolving set, all beautifully lit and brought to dazzling life by an adventurous technical crew. The very end was the most magical flourish of perfection.
The cafe cakes and pre show exhibition/play area are always a real treat. I think we might now have to explore how to install a hammock at home…
Need to Know
For ages 4 plus. Showing until the 31st December. Running time 55mins.
To book visit Lakeside Arts.