Edinburgh Fringe 2010
"Enter Neverland, seemingly a refuge of colour, poetry, music and dance for those who need to escape reality. Here you will discover compelling untold tales of the Lost Boys uncovered by Wendy’s arrival. " . Another Belt Up colllaboration
The Second Star to the Right is a magical, dreamy piece that captures both the whimsical charm of J.M.Barrie’s famous story about a boy who never wanted to grow up and the darker, untold stories of the inhabitants of Neverland. An all-female ensemble employ physical theatre to bring life and action to a simple set, using their bodies as much as their words to evoke the emotions and turbulence of growing up. Brought to Edinburgh by Paper’s Weight in association with the critically acclaimed Belt Up Theatre company, it shows all the promise that might be expected from such a prestigious relationship.
The queuing audience are pulled through the door one by one by a mischievous Pierrette like figure, leaving those outside to wait in nervous anticipation. This, combined with the whispers of these impish creatures, effectively conveyed both the wonder and the subtle menace of the original novel. The play is staged in Belt Up’s House Above installation, in itself a shifting place much like Neverland, which Barrie told us appears differently to every child. The set is simple yet magical, evoking the dream-like twilight of both imagination and Wendy’s delicate place on the cusp of womanhood…and perhaps also the shadowy realm between life and death, as Wendy’s last words seem to suggest, leaving the audience feeling they have themselves brushed against some ethereal curtain.
While sometimes the physical theatre felt a little laboured, as a medium of expression it is highly suited to both the childish play of the Lost Boys and the ‘acting out’ of the underlying traumas that caused them to be lost. What the actresses lacked in polish they made up for with a freshness that might be hard to sustain in a larger scale production. They were genuinely delightful, although at times I felt a little like I was watching a particularly good school play. However, given the subject matter, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. On the whole, The Second Star to the Right felt like exactly what it is, a promising performance from an emerging company. Definitely one to watch.