REVIEW: Peter Pan, Barn Theatre

This innovative take on J.M. Barrie’s classic story is filled with heaps of imagination.

(c)Eve Dunlop

Given the immense popularity of this story, it can be difficult to find a unique way of presenting it on stage – but thanks to this refreshing adaptation by Alan Pollock and charismatic performance from Waylon Jacobs, the story is given a new lease of life.

The set up for the story being told, is a father who is far away from home for work and asked by his child via computer screen to tell a story. This he does by voicing all the characters, uses teddy bears as visual characters and moving around with great fluidity to tell Peter Pan’s story.

Through his adaptation, Alan Pollock’s adaptation is wonderfully focused on the narrative, the story telling seamless and feels very close to J.M Barrie’s original. It manages to draw the audience in with its very vivid descriptions (that are helped to be brought to visual life with thanks to a team projection artists), and poetic use of language that keeps the audience compelled to watch.

But Kirk Jameson’s production is also extremely physical, with the final fight scene between Hook and Peter Pan being particularly imaginative thanks to Tosh Wanogho-Maud’s clever movement direction and Joe Price’s lighting design that adds extra tension to the scene.

It is a sharply conceived production, with plenty of pace to it – but also lots of magic that will charm audiences young and old thanks to its reliance on everyone using their imagination. But it also pays attention to the little details such as the way in which Tinkerbell flies around the stage and focusing in on the more grown up elements of the story as well, making it feel like a contemporary story.

Throughout it all, Waylon Jacobs delivers an utterly engaging and energetic performance. His ability to transform from character to character is impressive – he makes for an excellent storyteller while still managing to capture the magic that can be found in the story.

This production highlights effectively the power of straight forward storytelling to make for a compelling fifty minute watch. Refreshing, unique and impressive.

By Emma Clarendon

Peter Pan is playing at the Barn Theatre until the 3rd January 2021.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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