Peter Pan, one of the greatest fairy tales of all time, made its return to the London stage at the Adelphi Theatre on Sunday 25th October for a matinee and evening performance. Music by George Stiles and lyrics by Anthony Drewe, this concert version of the classic tale was truly magical and an evening of wonderful entertainment.
With a live orchestra to bring Stiles’s music to life and a star-studded cast that portrayed the nuances and beauty of Drewe’s lyrics effortlessly this was a real one-off that held the audience’s attention and imagination.
Led by Bradley Walsh (Coronation Street, Law and Order UK, The Chase) in the iconic role of Captain Hook and Olivier Award-winning actress Jenna Russell (Call The Midwife, Songs For A New World, Soho Cinders) as his wife, Mrs Darling. Both Walsh and Russell deliver spectacular performances full of heart and passion. Russell’s voice is absolutely breathtaking in places and she really brings a sense of elegance and grace to the concert version of Peter Pan.
Ray Quinn as Peter Pan delivered a strong performance with a boyish charm and cheeky attitude that won the audience over whilst the powerhouse that is Sheila Hancock as Narrator oversaw proceedings.
The wider cast have to be acknowledged for their energy, talent and for truly enhancing this concert version. Although all formally dressed each actor had definition through their own individual style and really capitalized on this to develop their own character. From Pirate to Lost Boy there wasn’t a weak link.
Although a concert version and not a fully staged show the staging and effects were incredibly well utilized to create a real sense of adventure and mystery! As Director, Jonathan Butterell has created some truly wonderful moments on stage. Some of my highlights included the fog and ethereal movement around Pan flying, the use of the children as ‘stage hands’ to play Tinkerbell as a light as well as the use of props and lighting which really brought this performance to life and made it so much more than a concert. Our imaginations were left to run wild and truly enjoy this evening of original music and writing.
The orchestra played flawlessly and as an audience member there were some spine tingling moments when the music hit a crescendo at a dramatic moment.
Not really sure what to expect from a ‘concert’ of this nature, especially one often turned into a pantomime at this time of year, I was both surprised and delighted. This wonderfully emotional yet playful production stays true to the original tale but adds so many layers of humor and warmth, which is what really makes this a stand out piece of theatre. If this concert is anything to go by then Stiles and Drewe have an exciting time ahead and certainly won’t be ‘walking the plank’ anytime soon . . . .
Reviewed by Matthew Wren