JM Barrie's Peter Pan

Date 18th May 2019
Society Woodchurch Players
Venue Woodchurch Memorial Hall
Type of Production Play
Director Daisy Fermor, Elizabeth Fenton & Mark Perrian
Producer Les Fenton & Elizabeth Fenton

Report

Author: Anne Lawson

A dream came true for Daisy Fermor with her adaptation, co-directing and playing Peter Pan. All children grow up with one exception and this is the story of that one. Mr and Mrs Darling live with their three children, Wendy, John and Michael, together with their nurse a Newfoundland dog called Nana. All’s well until Peter Pan from Neverland appears and the adventures begin!  Pirates, fairies, Indians, learning to fly, sword fights, a crocodile, The Lost Boys and a very jealous sparkling green fairy, Tinkerbell. Settled in Row A I was in line for some of the lighting effects! Tim Nolan and the techy team Eliot, Oscar and Dylan, with great planning and designing, were to execute their magical effects! We heard thunder, tweeting birds, alarm clocks, dripping rocks,  an amazing canon fire blast with colour, smoke and the timed explosions, and Hook impressions. We saw a moving shadow on the backdrop, coloured rocks, a mermaids’ lagoon a lot of green and more. The hall windows were hung with camouflage and dotted around were several directional arrows with little symbols beautifully made, pointing to ‘Indian Camp’  ‘Pirate’s Cave’  and ‘Mermaid  Lagoon’.

With a plain backdrop the play opened into the children’s bedroom set with three low beds, a corner chair with wheeling child’s horse beside, a chest opposite, and an angled open red curtained window. Enter Peter Pan who loves listening to stories, however sad because he cannot catch his ‘shadow’ then Wendy sews it back on again for him! With an exchange of a ‘thimble’ kiss, a promise to tell stories, to be a Mother to Peter Pan and meet the Lost boys, the children fly off to Neverland and they all leap out of the window. Sparkling, tinkling and beautifully miming, Tink is jealous and causes much mischief - Sophie West played this role with great expression, versatility and in the end saves the day by drinking the poisoned medicine – but as we all believe in fairies and repeated and repeated this, she lived!!

Small items were added to create other pictures, a couple of rocks, a steering wheel aboard the pirate ship,  entrance to the boys’ cave, too small for Hook, and a great twinkling tree trunk. The Lost Boys were set a task by the Directors to build an imaginary house to cover poor Wendy killed with an arrow. They each built a section and added their own script – a most commendable scene. They were Nibs (Anna Hinson), Slightly (Tatjana Mager-Burr who also made a lovely blond Tiger Lily), Curly (Isabelle Stevens) and Tootles (Kaylyn Van Wyk). Pirate George Scourie namely Kim Parmee enjoyed her navigating and doubled as Wendy as an adult. The other named pirates were played with gusto by heavily tattooed Adrian Williams, James Perkins also lovable Nana, with Leigh Ann Perrian making her debut, proving very accommodating with her ‘killed off’ skills.  Costuming was particularly good especially the boots. This motley crew were led by natural killer Smee, a different Beth Fenton, with well-choreographed swashbuckling and then transforming into a gentle role of Mrs Darling. A splendid strong voice, a solid performance of Hook with all his menacing traits, excellent black curls, and red long coat etc. A perfect part for Mark Perrian - equally fine in the Father role, who even agrees to take on the Lost Boys. Daisy was in her element too – enough cheekiness, and agility, with emotion rolled into her part of Peter.

Children take a bow – enjoyable performances from Hattie Perrian as Wendy, Max Williams as John and Jacob Eldridge as Michael not forgetting of course Wendy’s daughter Jane played by Ella Parmee. Backstage worked well moving items efficiently, there was atmospheric music and I have to say there was a tear in the eye at the end.