Peter Pan - Reviews
Been to see Peter Pan at the Nottingham Playhouse. Carlton Operatic Society are one of the most respected musical theatre societies around and this is proven by this show. I was really transfixed by what I thought would be more of a children's theatrical piece but was quite sad in some places and wonderfully child like in others. Curtis Salmon's performance as the Boy Who Couldn't Grow Up belied his 15 years with a very mature voice and his acting, plus his ability to master the flying. Regular local theatre goers will recognise many of the faces in the cast which included a brilliantly evil Hook played by Simon Theobald, who I expected to receive a panto style booing for his evilness. A perfect show for everyone, whether you are grown up, or don't want to grow up and whether you believe in fairies, or otherwise. Seamless scene changes and sets and a really good sound quality add to the enjoyment of this magical musical.
This was the Musical version first staged in 2007. It was not the easiest one to take on but Rachael [Rees] certainly rose to the occasion in this very good production, making full use of all the available facilities and achieving the spirit of the piece. Likewise Christopher [Rees] provided excellent music from stage and pit with nice interpretation throughout. On stage we had an abundance of talent led by Curtis Salmon, great as Peter and Kimberley Brook with a super performance as Wendy. Simon Theobald took on the dual roles of Mr Darling and Captain Hook and gave excellent character performances in both. Jackie Dunn was ideal as the storyteller, lovely diction, while Bushra Naseer was very well cast as Tiger Lily, nicely played. There were plenty of comedy moments with the Pirates, led by Liam Hall as a very good Smee, while the Lost Boys were perfect as boys! All on stage played their part establishing the wide range of characters so well. The choreography and dancing fitted in well. The set was magnificent, handled well by the stage crew and the costumes certainly added to the visual effect, helped also by good lighting, sound and props. There must have been a lot of hard work to achieve the end result, but it was certainly worth it.
Amateur operatic societies are regularly criticised for opting to perform the old classics of musical theatre, Oklahoma!, Anything Goes, My Fair Lady etc. So here full marks to Carlton Operatic Society’s effort to break out with their production of Peter Pan – A Musical Adventure.
Simon Theobald (Captain Hook/Mr Darling) gave a memorable performance particularly as Hook. His excellent singing voice and fantastic stage presence were undoubtedly the highlight of the evening. He was ably supported by Liam Hall (Smee) and the pair were at their best in their second half duet "Pirate with a Conscience". Curtis Salmon as the eponymous Peter and Kimberley Brook as Wendy both sang well and kept the audience engaged throughout the evening.
It was not difficult to see why Peter Pan appeals to amateur companies as, with three separate choruses, The Lost Boys, The Pirates and The Braves, there was always going to be plenty of opportunity for members to be involved. I thought that The Pirates were a strong team and I particularly enjoyed their contribution to the production.
Sadly I did not think that this particular version of the well known story was a good enough vehicle for this undoubtedly talented group. None of the songs was particularly memorable and the storyline seemed to be rather clumsily handled. I read in the programme that all of the dialogue and most of the song lyrics were taken directly from J M Barrie’s original work which date as far back as 1902. This gave some of the lines spoken a rather surreal quality including words that have long since passed out of common usage and therefore rather out of place here.
The group had obviously hired in magnificent sets and backdrops and so the whole evening was a visual treat. The size of the scenery made the scene changes quite a challenge and it was generally handled very well. Personally I do not mind seeing a member of the stage crew crawling off on his hands and knees although I am not sure that the director would agree! Full marks to the technical crew for 'flying' the cast members so expertly. To have four characters flying simultaneously is not a challenge they will be confronted with very often.
I should like to make special mention of Celine McKeown, Lucy Wells and Bekki Wilson who, aided and abetted by a magnificent costume, played the part of the Crocodile. Given the iconic role that the Crocodile plays in the story and the excellent costume I felt that this character was under utilised in this production.
Well done to Carlton Operatic Society for stepping off of the well beaten track and giving their audience something new to experience.
Really enjoyed tonight's performance! My Grandad wrote the musical with Stiles + Drewe and I can honestly say your version was truly one of the best I've seen of it! Actors/musicians - brilliant! So much energy - even made my girlfriend cry! Can't wait to see it again tomorrow evening with all of the family. Thank you for such a great performance! :) #NextStopWestEnd