Peter Pan by young cast at the Webster

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WHEN this play was performed at Birmingham Rep in 2007, the critic Steve Orem suggested that casting Peter Pan must be a nightmare since the piece demands, amongst other things, a very high level of vocal talent.

The dilemma is, do you go for realism and cast young actors or do you chose experienced performers with more mature voices who are able to cope with the challenging music and often tricky lyrics.

Obviously, the producers of the Limelight Company’s production of Peter Pan, A Musical Adventure were bound to go with the first option, since their’s is a group dedicated to educating local young people aged four to 18 in the theatre arts of acting, singing and dancing.

Jamie O’Donnell excels in the role of the mischievous and often arrogant Peter Pan, the boy who simply refuses to grow up and whose agile and energetic performance was a joy to watch.

No one could accuse J.M. Barrie of political correctness and Willis Hall does little to address this in his version of the Peter Pan story.

Thus the role of Wendy is an un-enviable one – in addition to being the big sister to her brothers John and Michael, she is spirited away to be not only mother to the lost boys but also in demand to do the same for a bunch of dubious pirates.

Mamie Harrison plays Wendy with an enviable stoicism, given the constant harping on by others of what girls can and cannot do and, worse still, having to wear a nightdress throughout the play.

At least the boys get to wear pyjamas!

Lewis Smith and Greg Smith are well cast as the younger members of the Darling family, golden boys indeed and a credit to their parents, played by Elaine Kerr and Alan Christison

Once we arrived in Neverland, it was a joy to meet the tribe of Lost Boys, enthusiasts one and all and a great advertisement for the Limelight Theatre Company’s aim to bring musical theatre arts to local young people.

Not all the Lost Boys are boys of course, their numbers being made up of Jessica Buick, Ailsa Wallace, Gregor Milne, Carys Boyle, Shannon Thain, Ryan Tait, Abby Easton, Nairn Peat, Hannah Beattie, Emily Burns and Bobby Gray.

Special mention must be made of the strange and mysterious Tiger Lily, played by Iona Stewart, and the menacing, tick-tocking Crocodile played by Scott McDonald.

Alan Christison is a magnificent but not-too-scary Captain Hook in charge of a motley crew of assorted pirates played by Michael Carlin, Chris O’Mara, Scott Ramsay, Claire Rioch, Lynne McIntosh and Jimmy Gray while Marlene Kear holds the show together as the Story Teller.

Musical Director Richard Allan conducts the Neverland Band that includes Elaine Rietveld (flute/clarinet and saxophone); Lindsay Millar (french horn); Eunice King (cello); Marina Kyle (keyboard); Isobel Luke (keyboard); Matthew Robinson (guitar); Malcolm Downie (bass guitar) and Darrell Berthon (percussion).

Michael Carlin and Chris O’Mara produced the show. Stage manager was Grant Ewart

The Limelight Company’s next production, ‘Seussical the Musical’, will run from Wednesday to Saturday, November 16 to 19, in the Webster Memorial Theatre at 7.30 each evening with a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m.

E.H.