As soon as I walked into Regents Park, I realized that I would be in for a treat. The play was clearly extremely popular – and the crowd packed the theatre. The theatre is in the middle of Regents Park, and is magnificent. Surrounded by grass and fresh air, I always enjoy seeing plays here.
Before the play begun, the scenery caught my eye immediately. The stage was set as a hospital, from the time of the First Wold war, with old iron bed sets – some made up with sheets and pillows and some still with the sheets crumpled, as though they’d just been slept in.
The play began with beautiful music played by the spectacular orchestra and accompanied by a lady singing. She was joined then by a group of soldiers, singing a medley of different nursery rhymes. I felt that that was a lovely start to this play which is half about fantasy and half about the real world and war.
The play was emotional at times, but also funny at times. What shone throughout was the creativity of the scenery –particularly the magnificent octopuses and very clever crocodiles. The acting was consistently very good and the actors all managed to show the contrast that is at the heart of the play.
But, I did find the story disturbing and difficult. Despite the creativity and laughter, there was an overshadowing sadness throughout, with many references to war. Every adventure ended in war, and the stage was always haunted by men in uniform. Peter Pan, the boy who never grows up was, in the end a sad figure, deserted by all the other boys who did grown up – and many who died in the war.
I think the theatre’s advice that the play is suitable for children of 9+ is right. There are lots of different and difficult messages here. So, whilst the production showed great creativity, I left with a feeling of sadness and sorrow.