Edinburgh Fringe 2018
Wendy is telling John and Michael a bed time story. Both John and Michael object to having to go to bed before Tinkerbell arrives to tell them that Peter has been kidnapped. It is time to go and rescue Peter, but Wendy needs to go and rescue him. John and Michael are keen to go until Wendy points out that, there being only three of them, she needs them to play all the other characters in Neverland. Off goes Wendy and Tinkerbell in search of Peter. Picking up Tootles she meets Me, Me the mermaid, Tiger Lily and then the pirate who has taken Peter in a Neverland power grab against Hook, Starkey. Fight ensues, order restored, happy endings all round.
Framed within the context of the familiar we are soon off on a flight of fancy as the three young performers have clearly honed their skills during this extended run at the Fringe. As soon as you arrive Wendy is welcoming you and getting to know you as you sit and get ready for the journey upon which she and the other two are pilots. From the initial bedtime scene and nodding to the fact that they are only three they take us on a well known tale that has a lightly new version here. The characters are well drawn and portrayed so we can do without Smee and many others for the duration of the time we are in Neverland.
The pace does not drop throughout their interaction with the audience which is impressive when you depend on whether or not the willing audience are up for shouting out and getting involved. When there is a little less interaction and shouting out from the audience perhaps the beginning could have been slightly better framed had Wendy been doing the initial interaction from within the crowd rather than onstage.
All the performers have a charm and enthusiasm that, whilst might not take you into an immersive radical version of Peter Pan assures you that you are in safe hands and that all will end up well in the end. The scary stuff is kept to a minimum and with a smattering of songs there is a range of skills on show. I did think, however, that the bear song was too complex and lacked the same level of comfort and confidence as other elements of the show.
Overall therefore we got a show that the young would love, would reckon as a superior version of the story – think more like Jake and the Neverland Pirates than Hook – and there was delivered a more than decent account of itself. If you have any little nippers short of a treat on a wet morning, you could do a lot worse than get them along to see this.