Review: Peter Pan, Barn Theatre

After the year we’ve all had no one can be forgiven for wanting a touch of escapism this Christmas. Thankfully the Barn Theatre has come to the rescue with it latest production, Peter Pan. 

Alan Pollock breathes new life into J.M. Barrie’s classic tale of the boy who wouldn’t grow up, adapting it into a one-man show. A father (Waylon Jacobs) who’s away on business rushes back to his hotel room to video call his daughter (voiced by Georgia Dibbs) three thousand miles away. She wants him to read her favourite bedtime story, Peter Pan, and despite being initially reluctant he gives in, and so begins an epic adventure and the perfect family entertainment. 

Peter Pan is being performed live and streamed online, with a digital schools tour available and the production free to stream for hospitals and care homes. What’s so great about this production is that even when watching online you feel as though you’re in the theatre with Jacobs, completely absorbed in the story.

Thanks to Kirk Jameson’s strong direction, over the course of an hour the audience is drawn in and whisked away to another world complete with fairies, pirates and, of course, even a crocodile. All aspects of the production combine perfectly to create an enchanting show full of creativity. Pollock’s script is brought to life with the help of moving animations (designed by Benjamin Collins) projected onto the back wall of the stage, an incredibly clever touch which really capture the imagination. Joe Price’s lighting design create atmosphere effectively, and together with Nick Barstow’s musical arrangement add a level of emotion to the piece, which is evident even when watching online. Meanwhile Gregor Donnelly’s set is incredibly effective as he leads the journey on an adventure from a drab hotel room into the colourful world of Neverland; and a particularly clever touch is using the hotel props to further the story, using two hotel teddy bears as Michael and John Darling. Everything about this production is impressive and it’s when all of the elements come together that the magic really happens. 

Wayland Jacobs is the only actor on stage, though at times it’s easy to forget given how good he is at voicing the many many characters. With thanks to Tosh Wanogho-Maud’s movement direction Jacobs uses every inch of the space available, his energy never faltering, and helps bring this adventure to life. Jacobs’ enthusiasm is infectious, and he puts in a spellbinding performance that really captures the audience’s attention.  

This new reimagining of Peter Pan is utterly captivating and a truly enchanting production and, with many theatres struggling across the country right now, it’s a fitting reminder of just how magical theatre can be. Great fun for all of the family, this is a must-see show this Christmas. 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

To book tickets visit https://barntheatre.org.ukFor more information on the digital schools tour and/or hospital and care home screening please contact info@barntheatre.org.uk.

Photo credit: Eve Dunlop

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