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Minimalist treatment of a family favourite

Peter Pan, Albany Theatre, Coventry, to December 22. There’s plenty of action in this minimalist version of the classic panto, with the boy who never grew up and the girl he flew away with, pursued around the theatre aisles by the classically evil Captain Hook and Bosun Smee, and even at one point an inflated crocodile. But the stage often seems a bit empty, as Wendy’s usual two brothers are absent, and the Lost Boys of Neverland are only talked about and never seen. The story sticks to the tale of Wendy escaping her London home to fly off to Neverland with Peter, where she tries to impose bedtimes and stories, before seeing off the evil Hook. The Ceridwen Theatre Company is a family affair, with mum Vivien Lesley Jones directing, son Lyon Devereux adapting the script, and daughters Nadia Devereux playing Peter Pan and Helena Devereux, Wendy. Nadia is a feisty Peter, keeping all at bay, and Helena is a Wendy who soon abandons her girly dress to battle alongside her hero. Hook is played by Morgan Rees-Davies with lots a typical panto baddy swagger, and Mark Topping at Bosun Smee adds a good comic air. Tinkerbell is a bewitching green light and tinkling bell who flies around the stage and then appears cleverly to be carried by Peter. There’s some audience participation, booing and singing, which the children enjoy, and some references to Brexit and modern celebrities - some are funny but others don’t add much. It’s an enjoyable panto, performed by a small cast, and at less than two hours including interval it’s not too long for the younger members of the audience.

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