Saturday, January 7, 2017

PETER PAN



Book, Music and Lyrics by Piers Chater-Robinson
Directed by Anita Davenport
Musical direction by Susan Davenport
Ickle Pickle Productions
Belconnen Theatre to January 21

Review by Len Power 6 January 2017

J.M. Barrie’s ‘Peter Pan’ – the story of a boy who never grew up – was first presented on stage in London in 1904.  Since then it has been presented in many other stage versions, musicals, TV dramatizations and a Walt Disney animated movie.

The production by Ickle Pickle at the Belconnen Theatre uses a version created by Piers Chater-Robinson in England in 1985.  It has had many productions internationally since then.

Director, Anita Davenport, has directed a company of enthusiastic, mostly young players who capture the spirit of the work quite well.  The well-executed set designed by Steve Galinec is bright, colourful and imaginative.  Costume designers Janette Humphrey and Miriam Miley-Read have had a field day with nicely designed costumes for the cast that evoke the traditional elements of the story while having a bit of fun as well.  The costumes for the dog, Nanna, and the crocodile were particularly delightful.

The Indian dance that opened the second act was exciting and well-choreographed by Jodi Hammond.  It was a good showcase for the well-trained dancers in the cast.  Lachlan Ruffy’s fight choreography was quite realistic and strongly performed by the cast involved.

The pre-recorded music was well-sequenced by Susan Davenport although the music for this version is a bit bland.  The songs serve their purpose but there’s nothing memorable about them.

Greg Sollis gave a rip-roaring performance as Captain Hook and sang very well.  His skills as a performer were certainly put to the test when the music playback failed during one of his songs.  To his credit, he was not fazed at all and continued with his song unaccompanied.  He turned a potential disaster into a show-stopper.  There was also good work from Josh Kirk as Peter Pan, Emily Pogson as Wendy, Deanna Gibbs as Mrs Darling and Tinkerbell.  Jack Morton and Joss Kent also gave nice performances as Wendy’s brothers.  Patrick Galen-Mules was very funny as the pirate Smee and Maddy Betts was an attractive Tiger-Lilly.

Anita Davenport ensured that the show moved along at a lively pace with good characterizations and scene transitions well thought out and executed.  She kept the most spectacular moment for the finale of the show and it certainly excited the opening night audience.

This is a fun show to take your children to during the school holidays.  Adults will have a good time as well.

Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7’s ‘Artcetera’ program from 9am on Saturdays as well as on other selected Artsound programs.

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