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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA

A Magical Evening in Neverland (via the Octagon Bolton)

Review by Hillary Dawes

The Octagon’s first festive show in the beautifully refurbished theatre did not disappoint. This adaptation by Sarah Punshon of the classic story of Peter Pan gave rise to a magical performance, aimed to appeal to grownups and children alike and the excitement in the auditorium prior to the show was palpable!

There was a modern take on the Darling family’s situation during the opening scene, with several current references throughout, but the main theme of the Peter Pan story was maintained, with some brilliant work by the creative team to achieve the flying sequences, the portrayal of Tinkerbell, which was realistic and believable, and Captain Hook’s nemesis, the clock-swallowing crocodile (who might possibly have stolen the show!) A bare set was transformed by turns into Wendy’s family home, the Lost Boys’ camp, Captain Hook’s ship, complete with rigging and Jolly Roger flag, and even a convincing water effect, allowing for several high comedy sequences!

The large cast of characters was impressively brought to life by just five talented actors, who maintained the fun and energy throughout the show, and showed their versatility with songs, dances and athletic fight sequences. With standout performances from them all, Matthew Heywood proved to be a perfect hyperactive Peter Pan, and I would give a particular mention to Amy Drake as Captain Hook who, with her impeccable comic timing, had everyone, including the audience, in the palm of her hand!

The wonderful original music and lyrics throughout the show captured the feeling of each scene beautifully, and after the rousing closing number it would be hard for anyone to leave the theatre without a smile on their face and a warm feeling in their heart.

Directed by the Octagon’s Artistic Director, Lotte Wakeham, adapted for the stage by Sarah

Punshon, with songs by Claire Tustin and Ziad Jabero.

Peter Pan stars Matthew Heywood in the title role, Purvi Parmar as Wendy, Amy Drake as

Captain Hook, Jason Patel as Tinkerbell and Robert Jackson as Smee. As well as their

principle roles, the actors #also play numerous other roles including the gang of pirates,

troupe of fairies and the Lost Boys.

The creative team: set and costume design by Rose Revitt, musical direction by

Matthew Malone, lighting design by Jane Lallijee, sound design by Chris Whybrow,

movement direction by Jonnie Riordan and assistant direction by Francesca Tennant.

On until Sun 9 January

Tickets from £15.

Phone: Octagon Box Office 01204 520661

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