This isn’t a sponsored post.
BrumHour was invited to the press night for Peter Pan – Reimagined by Birmingham Rep.
For Interval Theatre on Brum Radio, Dave Massey spoke to Nia Gwynne and Lawrence Walker from this Birmingham Rep production of Peter Pan – Reimagined.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
Peter Pan – Reimagined at
Directed by Liam Steel and adapted by Georgia Christou and Liam Steel from the book and play by JM Barrie
In a foster home in Birmingham live teenagers John (Kascion Franklin) and Wendy (Cora Tsang) plus Michael (Mollie Lambert) who is younger. After their foster mother and her best friend head out for the night, Wendy finds their kitchen invaded by Peter Pan (Lawrence Walker). Peter is a whimsical but talented young man who can fly. Yes Fly. He is soon joined by Tink (Mirabelle Gremaud) a small fairy who takes an instant dislike to Wendy.
Peter persuades John, Michael and Wendy to head to Neverland But Tink races on ahead to warn the Lost Ones living there that Peter has a dangerous Wendy-bird that must be shot from the sky. The Lost Ones injure Wendy with a bow and arrow and discover Peter wants Wendy to be their new mother.
Meanwhile, Hook (Nia Gwynne) and her pirates including Smee (Charlotte Merriam) have also heard Wendy has arrived and soon set out to find her, and hopefully before huge crocodile finds Hook.
This is a stunningly crafted urban fantasy with comedic moments. Neither a panto nor a musical it does have elements of both with three or four numbers sprinkled through the show. The multi-level set makes full use of the Birmingham Rep stage as it transforms from a home in a courtyard of flats to an underwater lagoon, a ship and the Lost Ones’ hideout.
The kitchen sink set did worry me at first, it created a barrier between the actors and the audience, but then we discover it too is packed with secrets and surprises. Powerful music and stunning lighting help pick out the props which are nearly all made from recycled products, a washing container bird and umbrella jellyfish. The fantastic wire work to create flight is actually bungee ropes giving the actors constant movement in the air.
Transported from its original very British family setting to a modern Birmingham the script tackles lots of issues to do with family and friendship head on. Every character has a discovery to make about themself or each other. Peter has had some sort of PTSD experience in his childhood which has caused him to never want to grow up, Wendy is afraid that everyone will reject her. Even Smee is an adult missing a parental figure.
Mirabelle Gremaud‘s Tink steals every scene she appears in, with her alien language, acrobatics and silky smooth singing voice. Lawrence Walker is vulnerable and enchanting as Peter Pan, while Nia Gwynne relishes in her villanry as Hook. Cora Tsang’s Wendy feels like every lost teenager trying to be a grown-up and frustrated by her youth and, as we discover accepting reality has become an issue.
The script itself remains largely faithful to the original story, key sections of dialogue echoed from my childhood. If J M Barrie wrote Peter Pan today, it might look something like this urban fantasy drama.
Peter Pan – Reimagined is at Birmingham Rep until 19th January. Book tickets here: birmingham-rep.co.uk/whats-on/peter-pan.html
This isn’t a sponsored post.
When not writing about theatre for BrumHour, or producing Interval Theatre for Brum Radio (Tuesdays 3pm) brumradio.com/intervaltheatre, Dave Massey can be found eating crisps and tweeting about Birmingham for #BrumHour.