1/2 Stars

Peter Pan at the Polka Theatre – 2 Stars

This classic children’s show has all the trademark touches of a Polka production; imaginative staging, wonderful puppetry, excellent casting, but the episodic nature of the piece makes it feel fragmentary, and therefore below the usually high Polka standards.

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This is an innovative adaptation, with the Darlings home set in 1950s London and Neverland in the Far East, but the Eastern edge makes for unsettling viewing. The Lost Boys are decked out in camo gear, their base made up of ammo boxes and set in an anonymous clammy jungle. And with this adaptation the ticking crocodile has morphed into a frightening man in a gas mask, with a long trench coat and eyes that glow yellow in the dark. Nightmares, anyone?

This play is aimed at the whole family but, scary gas-masked crocodile aside, this would suit slightly older children. The language is quite complex at times- particularly that of Hook- and the story doesn’t unfold in a straightforward manner, which meant that lots of the younger children around this reviewer were asking frequent questions.

The cast do their best to hold the audience’s attention, however. There’s a charismatic Peter Pan, played by Jonny Weldon, who brings rock’n’roll flounces and Elvis impressions to the 50s theme. Equally, Hook, played by James Traherne, is the most enjoyable to watch for the adults in the audience with his word plays and penchant for French phrases.

Overall, with Christmas shows aplenty in London and tickets not being cheap (Peter Pan costs £17.50 per ticket) then there are better productions to see. Take a look at our recommendations for Family Christmas Shows here.

Categories: 1/2 Stars, review

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