Peter Pan 2018

I had the enormous pleasure and privilege of seeing the Orpheus production of Peter Pan and below is my assessment of it.

General comments

The production was an outstanding achievement, bringing together a wide range of skills and culminating in a fast-paced, colourful and thoroughly enjoyable show. It had all the right elements for a pantomime – a comic script, comic timing and audience participation. Apart from a glitch in the sound levels at the start, the audience were engaged throughout. The students were cleverly backed by staff and who helped to keep things on track. In scenes where there was boisterous activity, it was never allowed to get out of hand in the natural excitement. The discipline was still evident. In addition to the fun of it all, there was a clear message about meeting the challenge of growing up.

Art, design and technical effects

The show was brilliantly enhanced by the artistic and technical effects. Great imagination was used to produce the flying video. This was worthy of a professional company!  Credit too goes the creator(s) of the colourful crocodile whose movement was brought to life by puppeteers in similar style to the War Horse operators! The costumes were colourful and the props cleverly designed and effective.

Music

The band provided excellent backing throughout. The use of different instruments and percussion, helped to create the various moods of each scene. Group and solo songs from the performers on stage were few and did not feature largely in this production. However, in true panto style, the audience had the chance to join in with a jolly chorus - together with actions, led by the actors.

Dance

Dancing played an integral part in the show, with lively and artistic choreography designed to enhance the atmosphere in a variety of ways. The dancers were disciplined and did themselves proud.

The acting

All the students are to be praised for their hard work and commitment to their roles. They were fluent and I was not aware of any off stage prompts needed. On the very few occasions when a cue was not being taken up, a fellow actor would come to the rescue in a natural way so no pace was lost. The occasions were minimal anyway and barely noticeable.

The casting played to the strengths of existing talents, a prime example being Andrew Self as Tink, whose dancing talents were able to be used to great effect and similarly, the comedic skills of the pirates in their slapstick scenes.

Tyler Russell as Captain Hook gave a very commanding performance, creating a convincing pantomime “villain”. His projection was particularly strong.

Ayman Qureshi as Peter showed a good degree of confidence and presence.

Catherine Robson as Wendy, gave a delightful performance. She was wonderfully in role and was able to show appropriate emotions. Her body language and gestures made her a joy to watch. Her final speech relating to growing up was a real highlight of the show.

I cannot of course leave out the performances of the staff acting alongside the students who blended in so beautifully. And of course how could I not mention the Oscar-winning actors bringing Nanna to life!

Finally, huge congratulations go to Rachel Martin and her team for what must surely be one of the most enjoyable Orpheus shows to date. It was a fitting end to its 20th Anniversary.

Ann Lovelace