Words by Vix & Ruby-Lou / Pics by Johan Persson
The opening scene of Birmingahm REP’s new production of Peter Pan, ‘reimagined’ by Liam Steel and Georgia Christou, is set outside a dull and depressingly grey concrete apartment block, where adults and youths collide and tensions run high.
Wendy (Cora Tsang) plays an angsty teenager in foster care, with major trust and abandonment issues, who ‘mothers’ her foster brothers and has clearly lost all concept of her own carefree youthfulness.
Nia Gwynne plays Jess, the children’s patient foster mother – and later a fabulously female Hook, scared of nothing; nothing but the crocodile’s ticking clock.
We are soon transported to a fantastical urban underworld; imagine Peter Pan being given the Mad Max treatment, but with way more vibrant, clashing colour. The crew kick it with a rap-rock track and we can feel their energy. Ruby-Lou turns to me wide-eyed, “Mummy! This is brilliant!” I agree. The whole ‘Post-Apocalyptic Day-glo Steampunk’ vibe is a visual delight.
Lawrence Walker is an amiable Peter Pan, staying true to the iconic character, whilst Tinkerbell (Mirabelle Gremaud) is a feisty, foul-mouthed fairy. Let me clarify, when I say ‘foul-mouthed’, the worse it gets is her calling anyone and everyone a “silly ass”. Ruby-Lou is quite shocked (I’m pleased and proud to say) exclaiming: “Tinkerbell is my favourite, but why does she keep saying that?!”
Thankfully, my 9 year old daughter totally understands when I explain Tink is angry, unhappy, and doesn’t have anyone to tell her what’s right and wrong etc – one of the intended morals of the play. Plus, Tink flies about wearing a spacetastic silver tinsel and glitter outfit which is great fun to watch (I’m sure I wore something very similar with Fuzzbox on John Peel stage at Glastonbury back in ’86!).
Needless to say, REP’s new production of Peter Pan is right up our street – following the parallel universes and the deeper parallel meanings, and for me relating to my own experience running Community projects with LAC (Looked After Children) and Foster Families.
Moreover, as a proud Brummie born and bred, I am delighted to hear local accents (far more authentic than in Peaky Blinders, I might add) in a new take on a literary classic that has been adapted ‘specifically for Birmingham audiences.’ Thank you for the positive promo Birmingham REP.
I ask Ruby-Lou her thoughts and she exclaims that this is “the best show ever! The actors, the scenery changes, the songs, the costumes…!” We unanimously give Peter Pan a big fat 10 out of 10 – this imaginative reimagining by Liam Steel and Georgia Christou is everything it promises to be, and then some.
On stage at the Birmingham REP well into the New Year, there is still a chance for many more people to catch this wonderfully creative and contemporary take on a classic festive fave. Peter Pan runs until 19th Jan, so book your tickets now and let a little magic in. The clock inside that pesky croc is not the only one ticking down…
Vix & Ruby-Lou’s Live Vlog Review – Peter Pan @ Birmingham REP
A special season’s greeting from Vix & Ruby-Lou
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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