‘Peter Pan’ – The Mercury Theatre, Colchester
This was an innovative performance which oozed creativity from start to finish. The set was simple yet worked in all its guises from nursery bedroom to pirate ship. I am a personal fan of actor/musicians and I am always in awe of their versatility and this production was another example of how this works perfectly.
The set which consisted of a multi functioning wardrobe, drawers which hid beds, an upright chest of drawers and various boxes was the perfect setting for the eight performers who double and tripled the parts in front of our eyes. The screens showing stars or clouds also gave a depth to the stage which I really loved.
For me, there was a real feeling of a children’s playground, having witnessed when children adopt a range of characters in the blink of an eye and we saw this first hand – one moment a lost boy and within seconds one of Hooks pirates.
Peter himself was played by Emilio Iannucci. Emilio had all the frustrations and ebullience of a young and self-assured boy and delivered a great performance as ‘the boy who never grew up’. Opposite him as Wendy was Charlotte Mafham. She had a strong stage presence and embodied the role we all know so well with charm and grace and was a pleasure to watch.
I particularly loved Alicia McKenzie, in her many personas and also James Peake – not just because of his wonderful Tuba playing but his great range of characterisations. Alicia went from unintelligible Tinkerbell to Jamaican Jukes in a flash of an eyelid and every different part was brilliantly delivered. James also gave great diversity in his performances – never more so than from Nana, the slobbering and lovable family dog to Slightly from the Lost Boys with his know-it-all character.
However, all the actors did a great job adding to the layers and colours of the performance. While I could name them all individually it was the whole cast working together that made the show so special. One of the highlights for me was the swimming section with the simple use of confetti to represent the splashes of water. So simple, yet so effective. Everything about the show required you to use your imagination to full effect and for me, it worked in spades.
This is not really a show for little children like a pantomime but for adults and slightly older children, it gives a wondrous and exciting theatre experience and is another inventive show from the Mercury Theatre, which I thoroughly recommend seeing.