Edinburgh Fringe 2011
Set in ‘Neverland’ years (equivalent to 80 ‘London’ years) after the original Peter Pan story ends, this is an adventurous tale that includes some of the original characters plus some new additions and dinosaurs as well …
In an interesting continuation of the Peter Pan story, where Captain Hook survives being eaten by the crocodile, and recovers the famous ticking clock, which now allows him to travel through a vortex in time, we as an audience embark on a new adventure, joining forces with Peter Pan, Fairy Stinkerbell (Grandson of Tinkerbell), a 90-year old Wendy, and her Great Grand-daughter Chloe, to try and defeat him.
Utilising a very basic set but plenty of lighting effects, and including a dry-ice haze, a cast of three performers, each of whom play several characters, guide us through the adventure with the help of children in the audience. Children are encouraged to volunteer throughout the production when the characters ask “who would like to help me?” at which time many eager hands shoot up and wave at the performers, hoping to be picked.
Most impressive throughout the production is the number of costume changes that each performer achieves. Each actor plays 2-3 characters and dinosaurs as well, which means that they work very hard throughout the show, and backstage, I can only imagine, must be highly organised. No-one, however, misses a beat, and the characters come and go seamlessly, for which the cast members should all be applauded. I would have liked to have heard some character voice change each time – especially between Peter Pan and Captain Hook, both played by James Cowden.
Spotlites Theatre Company have been performing children’s interactive theatre for a number of years now, and have obviously developed a successful formula for their productions. The performers are very proficient at involving the children in the production in a very non-threatening and positive way, all of which can only build confidence in the participants.
The only downside to the performance I watched was the timing. Advertised as a 1 hour 45 minute performance including a 5 minute interval, already a long time to keep an audience of children attentive, the performance I saw lasted for 2 hours 10 minutes, by which time many were getting fidgety. Some of the timing issues were related to handing out of props for the children to use … my thoughts here was that possibly some of these could be pre-set under the seats, and pencils and treasure maps handed out before the show. That having been said though, this is a show that provides a great theatrical experience for children, enjoyed by all in attendance.
Four stars: Highly Recommended.