This seasonal production of Peter Pan at the Rose Theatre offers a festive evening with a family-orientated play based on J.M. Barrie’s classic tale.
This adaptation by Evan Placey, directed by Lucy Morrell, starts with Gran (Hilary Maclean) and her Grandson, Ralph (Ella Waldmann) telling a Christmas tale before transitioning into the classic tale which both characters then narrate throughout the performance.
Placey’s adaptation brings a focus on family relationships and dynamics. The Lost Boys, rather than falling out of their prams as in the original story, had birth parents who were unable to look after them.
I thought, this made the story more realistic and truer to a lot of modern family dynamics with themes of adoptions and blended families which helped create a new warmth to the story that there never was in the original.
The casting of the play alternates between the Green Cast and the Pink Cast of The Rose Youth Theatre, however, most of the main characters (Peter Pan, Hook, Mr. and Mrs. Darling and Gran) remain the same for all performances.
The character of Tiger Lily, played by Shona Maggo from Green Cast, stepped on stage early and performs with strength and engagement, especially in her solo singing moments.
In this performance, Wendy, played by Isla Griffiths, was particularly captivating for a young actor and her portrayal of the character juxtaposed her sweet childlike disposition and her desperation for independence from her mother, which gives the play a moral twist.
Actors Michelle Bishop and Dominic Rye double up, playing both Mr. and Mrs. Darling and Smee and Captain Hook.
Bishop, in my opinion, really stole the audience’s hearts as Captain Hook and completely changed my opinion of the original character by making her comedic and likeable.
The actors playing both parts brought an obvious connection between the characters and a comedic element.
The use of puppets by Tinker Bell (Ellie Searle) and Nana (Audrey Johnston) really brought their scenes to life and made visually very entertaining, especially for the children in the audience.
Finally, Peter Pan, played by Kaine Ruddach, performed with cheekiness and confidence that endeared him to all.
Ruddach was particularly captivating in his song written by Vikki Stone in the first half closing the scene before the intermission.
All in all Peter Pan offers an enjoyable evening that will keep the whole family entertained.
Peter Pan, at the Rose Theatre runs until January 7.