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A tale like Peter Pan is timeless. There is no question that the story of the young boy who never wants to grow up is as sad as it is merry; dark as it is daring.
Boasting a talented cast and the world’s first fully 360 degree projected movie for live theatre, it certainly packs all the ingredients to make it a show to remember. Whether this spectacular re-telling of a familiar classic is quite the perfect marriage of technology and story-telling is certainly up for debate.
Headed by the versatile Jonathan Hyde who plays Captain Hook with just the right mix of menace and humour and Ciaran Kellgren as the light footed Peter Pan (who is not quite the measure of his opposite when it comes to onscreen presence) there is much to applaud about this production.
As has already been alluded to the pyrotechnics are outstanding and the young children I took along with me were mesmerized by visuals that immerse and involve you in the theatre before you quite like nothing I’ve previously seen.
The problem for me really comes in the story telling. I felt that the acting, whilst credible in parts – I liked the fact that Tinkerbell was played as more of a rough diamond and Wendy was slightly less wet as a personality – failed to engage me on a personal level and I was never emotionally moved by what unfolded on stage.
The story moved along at quite a brisk pace but if you looked beyond the visuals you would be hard pressed to unearth much warmth or personality. Everyone seemed in a hurry to rush from one scene to another and in the moments when the action did slow down these deficiencies became most apparent.
It was only as I left the theatre that I speculated this could in fact be the Peter Pan for the computer age. All gloss and no substance. The children in the audience loved it but more for what it has to show than what it has to say. To older viewers familiar with CGI and technical trickery, this will be a little like opening an ornate gift box only to find it empty.
Having had its run extended to the 13th September there is clearly something that draws in the crowds and there is no question that anyone under 11 will be grinning from ear to ear with delight from start to finish.
Ultimately I will leave you to make your own minds up but you will have to be quick because seats are selling out fast.
George R Vaughan
Head over to the website at http://www.visitlondon.com/peterpan/ for more information.