For the eternally young

2009-12-17 00:00

THEATRE REVIEW

Peter Pan

Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, UKZN Durban

THE Lost Boys, Wendy and Peter Pan invite the audience to follow them and have fun in the Neverland sun in KickstArt’s latest theatrical offering, the musical Peter Pan — and if you’re anything like me you will have been itching to join them in that magical place.

Director Steven Stead has worn a number of hats for this particular show. In addition to directing, he wrote the book and lyrics, working on the latter with composer Justin Southey. Their efforts are top notch and I’m not surprised to learn that other companies have already been in touch to stage this new version of J. M. Barrie’s children’s classic.

Helping bring that story to life is a cast which includes Bryan Hiles as Peter Pan, the boy who wouldn’t grow up. It’s a role he imbues with plenty of boyish charm. In fact, I’ve rarely seen an actor enjoy himself more — especially in the flying ­sequences.

Darren King also has a ball playing the villainous Captain Hook, leader of the motley pirate crew. His scenes with Smee (Peter Court) and Gentleman Starkey (Marc Kay, sporting a broad Scottish accent) were among my favourites.

Another great performance is provided by Frances Currie as Wendy Darling. Her voice is stunning and her duet with Shelley McLean (Mrs Darling), Lullaby ­Reprise, left me with goosebumps.

Jamie Royal (John Darling), ­Joshua Arnold (Michael Darling) and the Lost Boys — Shaun Kwela, Jonathan Johansen, Temi and Tomi Adewisi, Oliver Druce, Jesse Tifflin — are also great fun to watch, as is Clare Mortimer who has a cameo role as a haughty mermaid.

But the real scene stealers are undoubtedly the gorgeous Neverbird (Christopher Palathi with the vocal talents of McLean) and Nana the nursery dog, and the Crocodile with a penchant for Captain Hook — both of whom are brought to life by Chris Randall. These gorgeous giant puppets are the creations of designer Greg King, and they and the sets for the musical are, once again, top class.

Peter Pan is a magical piece of ­theatre which will appeal to the child in you, whatever your age. Don’t miss it this festive season.

 

• Peter Pan is at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre until January 9. There will be a New Year’s Eve gala 9.30 pm performance. Book at Computicket.

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