You will certainly be taken on an energetic and epic journey with ‘Peter Pan An Awfully Big Musical Adventure’ - the MAST Mayflower Studio’s Christmas Youth Production. And when you consider that over 150 people are involved in this show, it is an enormous endeavour and fantastic showcase for Southampton’s growing theatre talent.
For their first festive production there was some superb acting from this young company and I could hear every word spoken. The slick scene changes moved the action on with ease, and I really enjoyed the camaraderie amongst the characters.
The dancing was modern and tight so a special mention must go to Kirsten Skinner who choreographed numerous musical numbers.
As the villain, Rebekah Thompson-Phiri, really engaged with the audience, giving a strong, confident and graceful performance as Hook, up against Ellis Brett’s youthful, energetic and cheeky Peter Pan. Mia Marino portrayed a gentle and sweet Wendy and there were some fabulous performances from the Lost Boys particularly Not Funny, Tootles, Sprightly and Twin One. Ben Reid was a lovable and amusing Smee, while Ella Taylor as Tinkerbell gave a sparkling performance and really conveyed her sense of jealousy when Wendy arrives in Neverland.
The creativity of the technical crew and how they manage a set that remains in each scene always fascinates me. This set is one which will remain in my mind for a long time. We were transported from the Darling’s cosy house at Christmas to the warmer, hazier climes of Neverland adorned with large tropical flowers and then to Hook’s ship. The raised platform lent itself to being the inside balcony of the Darling’s house, to a look out at Neverland and the stern of Hook’s ship, not forgetting the rock where the glamorous mermaids added their backing vocals to Wendy singing, “One Fine Day.”
As there were popular songs from different decades, including the ticking beat during the opening music, the theme of time was prevalent in my mind, not forgetting that Peter Pan is the boy who doesn’t want to grow up. The costumes gave this production a modern twist. Peter wore denim cut-offs and jacket adorned with leaves. Tinkerbell was not in traditional green, but sparkly trousers and coordinating top. The Lost Boys looked very cool in their combat trousers and t-shirts and I couldn’t help but think of The Bay City Rollers when I saw the pirates in their red, tartan trousers! More adaptations were also evident with Oliver Lincoln and Caitlin-Rose Harnet, who played Mr and Mrs Darling, doubling as Noodler and Pier Rat the pirates whereas traditionally Mr Darling plays Hook.
One of the absolute highlights for me was Smee singing ‘Sweet Caroline’ to Wendy. The audience loved it and adults and children sang, clapped, and waved their arms throughout. If you need a tonic then you must catch this show!
Jenny Rainbird - Principal of The Rainbird Drama Academy, on behalf of 103.9 Voice FM https://www.facebook.com/RainbirdDramaAcademy/
Peter Pan An Awfully Big Musical Adventure is showing at MAST Mayflower until 31st December - Tickets available here > https://www.mayflowerstudios.org.uk/