Review: Peter Pan, Barn Theatre

RATING: ★★★★

In this time of theaters where I live being closed, watching theatre digitally has become more important to me than ever. So I was thrilled when I was offered to review the Barn Theatre's new production of Peter Pan, a new play based on a favorite story of mine. I recently wrote about What a Carve Up!, an online production that the Barn Theatre was part of and it's clear that they are one of the best theaters in the UK right now at creating online content. 

This new version of J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan is a one man show starring Waylon Jacobs. Adapted by Alan Pollock and directed by Kirk Jameson, the show follows a man recreating his daughter's favorite bedtime story while on a video call with her from a hotel room. It's a creative way to stage the piece and it's impressive how much of the tale they are able to fit into a runtime of an hour, including direct references to and lines from Barrie's original work. The play does make a few changes to the story, including changing the "Indians" to the more appropriate "Amazons." 

Georgia Dibbs provides the adorable voice of the daughter who goads her father into a more extravagant telling of the tale, insisting, "Aren't you going to do the voices?" As the story unfolds, the staging becomes more elaborate with the hotel room set adapting itself to different places. The projections of drawings, designed by Benjamin Collins, are a very nice touch. The show is recommended for children age six and older and while it might be too intense for younger children, it's definitely perfect for school-age kids. 

Harry Smith's sound design, particularly the blending of the rain sounds in the beginning, is also impressive. If watching online as I did, you'll be seeing a livestream of the show rather than something pre-recorded. While it means that there is less flashy editing than in some filmed theatre productions, there are still multiple camera angles and it better recreates the feeling of being in a theater. 

Jacobs is very engaging and maintains a high energy throughout the show. It's admirable how he manages to carry it, without anyone else onstage. He also has a genuinely moving moment towards the end of the play that stopped me in my tracks.  This is a lovely new version of Peter Pan, sure to be enjoyed by children and adults alike. 

Peter Pan runs until January 3 at the Barn Theatre in Cirencester. Those seeing the show in person will be required to wear a face mask, have their temperature checked, and sit socially distanced. For more information or to buy tickets, visit the Barn Theatre website

I was given a press ticket to this show for the purposes of review, but all opinions are my own. 

Photo Credit: Eve Dunlap 

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