Peter Pan A Magical Musical Adventure

Date 20th October 2022
Society Todmorden Amateur Operatic & Dramatic Society TAODS
Venue Todmorden Hippodrome Theatre
Type of Production Musical
Director Martin Cook
Musical Director Helen Clarkson
Choreographer Lisa Parker and Alex Townsend
Producer The Company
Written By Anthony Drew and Goeroge Stiles from the original by James Barrie.


Author: Paul R. Mason

This was a joyous happy production. Todmorden Hippodrome Youth Theatre Company transported us to the wonderful world of Neverland with a fabulous staging of  “Peter Pan-A Magical Musical Adventure.” 

Right from the start The Company captured our imagination with “There’s Something In The Air Tonight”. Using the full stage this was a striking introduction to what was to follow. The second scene in the nursery showed us Mrs.Darling. Emma Rawlinson’s interpretation of the role was strong throughout. She was the matriarch of the family. Her constant concern for the welfare of her children was touching.

When the three youngsters fly off to Neverland they do so by way of special apparatus much to the approval of the excited cries of appreciation and wonder from the packed house. All the songs that followed underlined the actions and intentions of the characters. Joseph Dowling was just right as Peter. His rendition of “The Cleverness Of Me” was delivered with gusto  and self belief. Joseph showed courage and determination and I am sure has won himself an army of fans. Emma Spooner as Wendy clearly knows how to use the stage. Her movements are instinctive. “Just Beyond The Stars”, her party piece, was moving, reminding us that perhaps there is something beyond our normal existence that is worth thinking about. Ben Crowley and Maebh Logue played Michael and John with confidence and a pleasing sense of innocence. As the Storyteller, Ella Reiss was charming and unintrusive. It is sometimes hard to be convincing as someone who is literally outside the action. We don’t want to engage with story tellers other than listen to what they have to tell us. Ella however created a real  character. Megan Shaw was an attractive and lively Tiger Lily, energetic:  disciplined in her interpretation. Mr. and Mrs. Darling, Thea Crowther and James Shepherd, both required to play parts much older than their actual years, stepped up to this challenge with skill. While Emma Rawlinson suffered for her art brilliantly as Nana.

Rebecca Spooner has enormous talent. Her interpretation of Smee was first class. She commanded the stage creating a pirate  we would all like to have as a friend. Her duet with Hook, “Pirate With A Conscience” was superb. I hope we have the opportunity to see more of the Spooner sisters before they inevitably head to the West End where I am sure they will continue to sparkle. What a challenge it is to be asked to play Captain Hook. It is a role that demands not just acting skills but also resilience and hard work. And what a success Finn Maden made of this opportunity to shine. He was nothing short of outstanding.I do not know where he trained but he demonstrated all the confidence of a much older actor. I was very impressed with all he did. I think most of the audience were too as there was a tangible sign of shock and regret as he plunged into the sea to be enjoyed for tea by the tick-tocking crocodile. 

Helen Clarkson wielded her baton with her usual brilliance. I enjoyed seeing Chloe Helm again. She is a musician of rare ability. As are all the other members of the band of course, but I aspire to play drums and have done so for several musicals, so I am biassed.

The costume team had worked wonders, especially with Hook. Jo Howard dressed the cast well adding to our suspension of disbelief. All the backstage crew had clearly enjoyed making this such a unique romance such was the quality of all that we saw. 

And so to the Pirates and the Lost Boys. The two teams worked as one. Their passion, commitment and ability so essential to our enjoyment of the play was exemplary. Lisa Parker and Alex Townsend  devised choreography of the highest order that underlined the essential characteristics of the opposing gangs.  Remember that there is always someone in the audience who has their attention on you. …no matter how many chorus members there are or what the Principlas are doing.. I wish to give a particular pat on the back however to Gabriella Rupp as Noodler. Her sympathetic contributions to the group dynamic were fascinating to watch. 

Martin Cook, you created a wonderful show. There is so much to consider in such a full on production as this demands to be. In your hands you created a treat for the many excited younger members of the audience who loved every moment of this classic story so lovingly brought to the Todmorden stage. And well done to Abi Lally too.

Thank you to Justine and David for your ever attentive welcome. It was good to be in the company of the NODA Vice President Christine Hunter-Hughes and the Deputy Mayor. As David politely reminded me I was on the lowest rung of the ladder.But who needs ladders when you can so easily fly beyond the stars?