We are incredibly lucky to live close to Malvern Theatres because they put on some amazing productions. Occasionally though, one comes along that really sparks children’s imagination. The girls have been looking forward to seeing Anne Dalton’s Peter Pan for weeks. Not least because they knew that they’d recognise some of the faces on stage.
When the curtain rose on Peter Pan at Malvern Theatres, we were surprised to see a colourful character called the NeverBird who appears in the original J M Barrie story. In the Anne Dalton adaptation, the Neverbird was somewhat reminiscent of a pantomime dame. A larger than life narrator who got the audience involved and engaged.
This led on to a very family-friendly performance that appealed to children and adults alike. We were led through the story from Mr and Mrs Darling and Nanny the dog putting the children to bed. Peter Pan arrived with Tinker Bell to look for his shadow, before teaching the children to fly and heading for Never Land.
The Neverbird reappeared periodically to give a recap of what was going on. Soon enough, Wendy and the children were introduced to the Lost Boys. It wasn’t long before the pirates put in an appearance and lastly we met the Indians and Tiger Lily. Not forgetting the enormous crocodile who appeared occasionally at the corner of the stage. Much to Captain Hook’s horror.
Several skirmishes ensue, with Peter getting injured and the Neverbird stepping in to help him out. Of course, Peter Pan and the Lost Boys defeat Hook in the end. With a little help from Tinker Bell and the trusty crocodile. Eventually, Wendy and the children make their way home, along with the Lost Boys. The production ends when Mrs Darling reads them all a bedtime story and Peter Pan and Tinker Bell appear at the window.
Anne Dalton’s Peter Pan – making theatre accessible
Anne Dalton’s Peter Pan is a professional production currently touring in the UK. In Malvern, they took on a huge cast of local dancers including several from the ballet school my daughters attend. We watched the first performance this afternoon and the girls were utterly transfixed.
The professional cast consisted of several household names. Peter Pan was Elliott Hanna, who played Billy Elliott in the West End and on television. Many of the rest of the cast have worked with the director, Anne Dalton in other productions including her award winning production of Her Benny.
But for my girls, the most exciting thing was seeing people they knew on the stage. For the children taking part, it was an incredible opportunity to work with a professional cast. And for younger ones like mine, being in theatre productions suddenly seems so much more accessible. These weren’t strangers dancing up there, they were people who they regularly see around.
It showed them that it’s worthwhile putting lots of hard work into their dancing classes and that it can open up opportunities to be part of something magical.