DramaFamilyNorth East & YorkshireReview

Underneath a Magical Moon – Theatre Royal, York

Writer: Mike Kenny
Director: Wendy Harris
Designer: Kate Bunce
Music: Ivan Stott
Reviewer: Louise Jones

Mike Kenny’s rewritten Peter Pan tale is in safe hands with Tutti Frutti’s strong sense of adventure and wonder, introducing the boy who never grew up to a new generation. Seeking to modernise the tale, Kenny frames the story within Wendy’s narrative, allowing her to call the shots and save the day more so than her previous depictions. Grace Lancaster embodies this active Wendy well, bounding around the beautifully designed set and proving her authority over brothers and Lost Boys alike.

While the script doesn’t revolutionise the story too greatly, it’s nice to see clear departures from previous adaptations. Chris Draper’s Hook doesn’t take its lead from Disney’s haughty depiction: here, he’s the frustrated leader of a rapping pirate gang. It may be harder for older audience members to separate this new Hook from older archetypes, but Draper proves more than capable as he makes the role his own.

Jack Brett’s Peter is all cheek and scruffy-haired childlike wonder, the perfect embodiment of the eponymous hero of J.M. Barrie’s work. The chemistry between the actors is flawless, all the more effective in creating quick emotional bonds for the audience to latch onto. Harris’ direction ensures the stage is always busy, and there is plenty of scope to play with Kate Bunce’s set. Scene transitions are livened by Ivan Stott’s enchanting and energetic score, a particular highlight being his marvellously Motown mermaid number, the tune of which won’t be leaving anyone’s head in a hurry.

The joy of Underneath aMagical Moon lies in the details. Tinkerbell is a rarely seen presence but lights up the stage through the effective use of a green light, whereas Peter’s shadow jumps into life with the note of a clarinet. Here’s when the show is most playful, and it’s worth it for these wonderfully impressive touches that bring Neverland to York.

Runs until 22 October 2016 | Image: Contributed

Review Overview

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Playful yet impressive

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The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Mark Clegg. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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