Crocodile Eats Man Much To The Delight Of Onlookers

Get Your Wigle On

Peter Pan

Wednesday 24th-Saturday 27th October

(Matinee Friday & Saturday 2.30 pm)

 

Billed as a musical adventure the Wigles tucked into this feast with their usual gusto.  Bringing the Michael Jacksonesque lad who won’t grow up, to the stage. A traditional narrative, sticking closely to J.M.Barrie’s original story the show has become the proud owner of a whole load of new songs and a stage just full of exuberance.

One is aware that the cast is almost entirely under 16 and one is aware that the responsibility on those young shoulders is in the main, massive. Could they carry it? Big songs and younger voices, could it work: Scenery changes, pace and tempo changes, pathos and drama all the responsibility of these young heads. Could they do it? Well, yes they can.

Not supported impeccably by stage technology, one hopes it was all to do with first night nerves. There is a little tweaking needs doing at the technical desk. A show comprises so much of other things that are only noticeable if they go wrong. Tonight they seemed plagued with opening night gremlins as the Narrator’s microphone and several others were a word or two behind before they were opened and parts of the set were plagued with those first night blues.

The principals all deserve their places. The eponymous character himself, the boy who wants to stay a child, Peter Pan is played by Christian Lugtu. His powerful vocal and approach to this character is great he is well cast and by the end of the run will own the role one is sure. Tom Gordon’s Cap’n Hook was a tour de force. He nailed it. The part was written for him and he fits it like a glove a delight to watch him work. Right to the end of extended finger tips he carries the part beautifully and the responsibility upon him like all the principals is heavy but no weight for him. A great talent. As is James Archer as Smee; the snivelling little sycophant that is Smee is played expertly with humour and with incredible commitment to detail. Great to see him work.

Then we come to Wendy. Wow with a voice that can blow your socks off Wendy is played with great sympathy, seeing her having to fulfil the Edwardian stereotype, that every girl should take up the Mother role is fascinating. Such a sexist assumption by the Edwardians but of course men ran the world. She ignited all these thoughts of equality and stereotyping within me. That is the veneer, the laminate that turns the role into reality. Well done Olivia Caudle.

Both Michael and John; Matthew Squire and Matthew Crowe respectively, gave fine performances too as did the crew. The Lost Boys and the Pirates and Tiger Lilly’s Indians were there on the money meeting cues and hitting marks great work from all. All of it skilfully narrated by Amy Tennant.

There were two skin performers. Skin performing is difficult, you see skin workers wherever you see a live football mascot or Tony the tiger at a church fete. Skin work is tough and people don’t give it the recognition or praise it rightly deserves. That said, the Crocodile was simply delightful Nana..maybe not so. One was intrigued at the skin that was Nana and one wondered why it was so obviously a person. I think the key lies in the back legs.

The flying was lovely, an illuminated sky cloth behind like a million stars twinkling, Peter Pan Wendy, John and Michael flew above the London skyline. It was simply delightful. A great thing to see and put a smile on one’s lips.

Is it a great show? It’s fair to say that it isn’t up there with Grease, Evita or Miss Saigon but it is a good show that will do the rounds again and again. Of course that is wonderful because a large percentage of the money ever raised by Peter Pan goes straight to Great Ormond Street Hospital. J.M. Barrie decreed it himself and it still stands to this day: A truly great gesture that will keep on bringing in money to the coffers of that wonderful establishment.

So even a little of your ticket money will go to that good cause. Go and see this show, take the family; Ross Wigley has filled the stage with colour, great vibrancy and amazing sets. It runs all week and as I always say pop along and see if I am right and you agree or of course the opposite too?

Given the time of writing this, one feels one might need to pass the second star and keep going til morning oneself. If I find any lost boys or pirates or Indians I shall leave them behind to keep the dream alive.

This is a Three Star Review

Owen J.Lewis

 

Section:

Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

Read More from Owen Lewis