Peter Pan in Scarlet at the Oxford Playhouse

If you read my last blog post My New Job you’ll know that I… well, got a new job! Part of my new job role as Assistant Agent at Nancy Hudson Associates, I need to go to showcases to look for new talent and see theatre shows that our clients are currently in. Last Thursday I got to do the latter, at the Oxford Playhouse watching Peter Pan in Scarlet, staring two of our clients Jonathan Charles and Perry Moore. Now, I understand this could be a biased review seeing as I have two clients that I am representing, but I am going to be completely truthful… and it was a good job I thought it genuinely was brilliant!

The show was made up of an extremely strong cast. Everyone contributed to making such a strong and incredible show. I had no idea what Peter Pan in Scarlet was going to be about. I purposely didn’t look up the plot, wanting to go knowing only that it was the sequel to the best loved story, Peter Pan. Cast members really pushed themselves during this show. Not only did they perform as brilliant actors that they are, but they also played instruments to form the band to back the fabulous songs. Jonathan played Slightly, one of the lost boys and Perry played John Darling. Both of which learnt other instruments, to add to the list they already play, just for the show. If learning new instruments, acting, singing and dancing wasn’t enough they also learnt the silks. One of my favourite scenes was the flying scene. Instead of the usual, here comes Peter flying in on a wire, they used silks to replicate the flying, forming different poses with them to show different ways of flying. After not very long at all I could truly see them flying over London towards Neverland.

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Another scene I loved involved such a simple but utterly affective move involving a map. Peter would throw the map to a lost boy on the other side of the stage for them to check out. Now, obviously paper wouldn’t reach from one end of the stage to the other when thrown, but this genius way was perfectly thought out and brilliantly executed. When Peter threw the map, the lost boy catching it would take out an identical map and with such swift movement it would appear as if he’d caught it. Peter of course had the same swift action that when he threw it he actually put it in his pocket. I can’t really explain it, it just had to be witnessed. Had it have been executed once, I think it would have been easily missed, but it was repeated a few times from person to person and I just loved it. I also loved how they used swings from the playground scene to rest plank of wood on to simply make Hook’s boat, The Jolly Roger. The swaying of the swings replicated the ship at sea. And again like the flying, I could really envision the ship riding the waves. 

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The story is about life after the brilliant Peter Pan story. Hook is gone to the belly of the crocodile and the Darlings have gone back to London with all The Lost Boys knowing Neverland is in safe hands with Peter Pan. But, they’ve all been having terrible nightmares of Neverland and need to get back. Many years have passed and they are no longer children, so how on earth will they make it back? A strong theme for the story is: “When you put on another persons clothes you become that person” and the first time we see that is when they all steal their children’s clothes and, once on, become children again. To cut the 2 and a half hour show shorter, for blog purposes, Peter Pan, The Darlings and The Lost Boys find Hooks old ship The Jolly Roger with his red coat, which Peter soon commanders and over time, slowly but surely, becomes Hook. Don’t worry it’s soon rectified!

I’ve just thrown together a plot for you, but this blog post isn’t about that. It’s to talk about how fantastic the overall performance was. I started to write my stand out performers and actually realised I was writing nearly every cast member. But I particularly loved, of course Jonathan and Perry, but also Lauryn Redding for her fabulous comedy skills, Michael Hugo for his characterisation of Firefly the Fairy, Suzanne Ahmet for her overal energy and performance and Isaac Stanmore for the strong and playful energy he brought to Peter Pan. I’d say get to Oxford to see it but sadly it finished last Sunday!

N.B. The photos used are from other sites. Sadly, I couldn’t find who to credit the pics too!

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