I was genuinely excited to see this production as I absolutely loved Peter Pan as a child. The story of the boy who never grew up, the magic of Neverland and the wonderful characters along the way was always a source of great joy. I’m pleased to say that Poulner Players achieved something really rather special with a cumulative mix of clever scenery, smart special effects, great song choices and a talented cast.
First and foremost, the most impressive part of this production by far was the simplicity but cleverness of the scenery. I watched with great interest during all of the scene changes and I was genuinely impressed with some of the innovative ways that visual effects combined with efficient use of space was achieved. There was excellent attention to detail throughout the production with all scenes and it really did make the show something quite special. My favourite addition by far was the crocodile which brought me great delight. My only recommendation would be to potentially move the middle stage mike as it was kicked around the stage a couple of times during the production.
Whilst there was a vague pantomime theme with some classically amusing one liners, and an opportunity for the audience to participate in some classic boos and hisses as they wished, the show was not a pantomime which was very refreshing after a very long panto season! Becky North and Jackie Reynolds did a great job of creating a show that doesn’t include the “forced fun” element that some panto-esque shows can heap on an audience at times.
In the title role of Peter Pan, Charlie Lakin played the role with great enthusiasm and was clearly enjoying himself immensely. He effortlessly commanded the stage throughout. He was paired well with Mae Osborne as Wendy who is a very talented singer. Keira Hayfield who played Tinkerbell portrayed the cheeky character very well, and had brilliant facial expressions throughout. Owen Hunt and Finley Smith were also well cast as John & Michael. A little shout out to Teresa Miller in the testing role of Nana too!
Bella Gago-Martin was a great choice as the fairy storyteller, she combined both facial expressions and movement well, which I felt some of the other children could have done a little bit more of.
Nathan East was a fabulous Captain Hook, both amusing and mean, which worked fantastically and got great reactions from the audience. He was flanked brilliantly by Harriet Caines as Smee who had a flair for comic timing and made a very good pirate.
The pirate ensemble were a believable motley crew, with bags of energy and enthusiasm. They helped to bring the show to life and were very funny.
There were some lovely musical numbers which were brought to life under the musical direction of Jonathan Spratt and some clever choreography, my favourites being ‘The Darlings’, ‘The lost Boys Gang’ and ‘Good Old Captain Hook’.
Overall a lovely evening was had by all. A show well worth seeing, and a lovely addition is the fact they are collecting for Great Ormond Street Hospital.