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BWW Review: PETER PAN, Barn Theatre, Cirencester

Waylon Jacobs takes on every role in this reimagination of the J.M. Barrie classic

BWW Review: PETER PAN, Barn Theatre, Cirencester

BWW Review: PETER PAN, Barn Theatre, CirencesterJ.M. Barrie's 1911 novel about the boy who never grew up is often staged around this time of year. However, a show about a rabble of "lost boys" would prove challenging to produce in the current circumstances. The Barn Theatre has found a way around this.

Kirk Jameson conceived and directed this retelling of Peter Pan through the lens of a father (Waylon Jacobs) away from home sharing the story with his daughter (Georgie Dibbs) over a video call, using everything in his hotel room to help tell the story. Adapted by Alan Pollock, the familiar tale is retold in a delightfully creative way with Jacobs taking on all the classic characters.

Jacobs gives a warm and energetic performance as the father figure attempting to entertain his daughter. While we only hear the voice of Dibbs, she conveys the frankness and fun you'd expect in any child who wishes their parent was at home to tell them a bedtime story.

Gregor Donnelly's set design at first glance looks like a simple solitary hotel room but combined with lighting design by Joe Price and projection design by Benjamin Collins, the room transforms into the Darling children's nursery, the London night sky, a pirate ship and the other familiar places in Neverland.

Collins' projection features sum five hundred sketches from different artists, combined together to give striking impressions of landscapes and characters such as the notorious crocodile. For those who will be streaming the performance, the overlay of some of the projections at the forefront of our screens is a nice touch.

Jacobs' marathon solo performance utilises every prop available to him, from the use of a lightbulb as Tinkerbell to an umbrella handle to form the instantly recognisable hand of the story's antagonist, Hook. He also leaps around as the story dictates, under the movement direction of Tosh Wanogho-Maud.

Nick Barstow's composition and musical arrangements add colour and depth to each scene, from jolly jigs to accompany playful scenes, to dramatic tinkling keys for the flying sequences. Harry Smith's sound design immerses the audience in the fantasy world.

This production is probably more appropriate for those already familiar with the story rather than as a first-time trip to Neverland. No matter, this delightful version brings to life the classic story of Peter Pan in a new way that engages and entices the audience.

Peter Pan at Barn Theatre Cirencester until 3 January and available online from 23 December

Photo credit: Eve Dunlop

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