BPREVIEW: Peter Pan @ Birmingham REP – running until 19.01.20

Words by Ed King / Pics by Johan Persson

Running throughout Christmas and up to 19th January 2020, a new production of Peter Pan comes to the Birmingham Repertory Theatre – offering a “brand new re-imagined version” of the J.M Barrie classic, one that has been adapted “specifically for Birmingham audiences.”

A production that is accessible for both children (aged 7 plus) and adults, and those that sit resolute between the two, tickets for Peter Pan range from £15 – £39.50 – depending on date/time of the show and seating position within the theatre.

For more direct information, including the full production schedule and links to online ticket sales, visit www.birmingham-rep.co.uk/whats-on/peter-pan

**Peter Pan will be presenting a relaxed matinee performance on Sunday 5th January 2020, at 2:15pm – with a special evening show interpreted by British sign language on Tuesday 7th January 2020, at 7:15pm. Click here for more details.**

There is the old adage, ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’. And Peter Pan is a classic. But Liam Steel and Georgia Christou are unperturbed, taking the J.M. Barrie fairy tale from the tight lipped turn of the century and dragging it into modernity – replacing London’s ‘seen and not heard’ cast of children with the yute and yoofs of millennial Birmingham. The characters have been shaken up, gender bent, and the coy copy on the show’s press release promises ‘surprise twists in the casting.’ That and a man eating crocodile, so I guess some things are still status quo in Neverland.

But there are some pretty strong credentials at the helm of ‘Peter Pan in Birmingham’ (say it out loud), with Georgia Christou’s debut play, Yous Two, being shortlisted for a Verity Bargate Award in 2015 – paving the way for a solid portfolio on both stage and screen.

Her co-adapter and Peter Pan director, Liam Steel, also has a pretty gleaming CV across musical theatre and film – riding the success from his adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, which ran with aplomb at the Birmingham REP this time last year. Well, The Guardian called it a ‘thrilling Oz of racial diversity, gender reversal and voguing androgyny… more current – and vibrant – than the MGM musical.’ Sorry Judy.

“All the beloved characters will be there,” explains Liam Steel – talking about his and Christou’s adaptation, “but we have transposed it from London 1904 to Birmingham 2019 and made the characters much more relatable and relevant for a modern day audience. For children encountering the story for the first time, I want them to feel this was how the characters were originally written, and for those who know the story well, then I want them to experience it with the joy of re-discovery, as though they are hearing it for the very first time all over again. 

With spectacular flying, incredible sets on a huge scale, ingenious puppetry, out of this world costumes and of course a giant man eating crocodile, audiences can expect to see one of the most visually spectacular Christmas shows ever to grace The REP’s stage.”

Danke schön, Herr Direktor. But there’s another old adage: ‘the first bite is with the eye’. So, here’s a sneaky peak of Steel and Christou’s Peter Pan (…in Birmingham) – courtesy of Costume Designer, Laura Jane Stanfield.

Peter Pan runs at the Birmingham REP until 19th January 2020 – adapted by Liam Steel and Georgia Christou. For direct show information, including a full production schedule and links to online ticket sales, visit www.birmingham-rep.co.uk/whats-on/peter-pan

For more on the Birmingham REP, including venue details and further listings, visit www.birmingham-rep.co.uk

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