Rhian Lynch as Wendy, Morag Mayland as John and Daniel Gaulder as Michael

Peter Pan The Musical

The Old Rep


If Carlsberg did Peter Pan crocodiles . . . we only see the head, it is all that would fit on the stage, the tail must end somewhere in Chinatown, and without giving too much away, the croc has the final say, or burp in this case, as old Captain Hook ends up as merely a morsal of antipasta in this lively production.

J M Barrie's Peter Pan has been flying around he stage since 1904 and, like Pan himself, has hardly aged at all with the magic and fantasy still intact some 120 years on, all you need as a sprinkling of fairy dust and that best special effect of all, imagination.

The Old Rep’s pro-am production gives valuable experience to the students of Birmingham’s Ormiston Academy in both performing and the technical aspects of theatre, the backstage jobs that are the essential part of any show, with pros in many of the leading roles and students in supporting roles as well as pirates and the lost children in Neverland. 

mr and mrs

Penny Ashmore as Starkey and Matthew Christmas as Hook, you can sometimes see them in their day jobs as Mr and Mrs Darling

Appropriately for a festive show Matthew Christmas gives us a rather elegant and dapper Mr Darling, and a dastardly dapper, and evilly elegant Captain Hook, while Penny Ashmore takes on the roles of his homely and motherly wife, who bears an uncanny resemblance to bloodthirsty pirate Starkey when we head second to the right, and straight on till morning to find Neverland.

Then there is Stefan Davis as Smee, Hook’s go to No 2, who has the problem that he is hardly a piratical asset, much to Hook’s displeasure. In the real world of the Darling household Davis has to show his puppetry skills as Nana, the protective Darling dog.(Puppets Duncan Hammond and Riven Smith).

Morag Mayland weighs in as John Darling with Rhian Lynch in the key role of older sister Wendy Darling while student Daniel Gaulder enjoys himself as the youngest of the Darling’s, Michael.

Completing the Darling household is the maid Liza, played by another student Tanya Thomas.


Thea Jo-Wolfe as Peter Pan

The trio of children work well together moving the story along at a lovely pace starting with the arrival of Peter Pan, a class act from Thea Jo-Wolfe who has a long CV and has played the lead vocalist on numerous cruise liners. She is almost in home port for Christmas as she is now living in Solihull.

Pan is searching for his shadow, played by student Keisha Riley, who comes out of the shadows (couldn’t resist that) later as Tiger Lily, captured and condemned to death by Hook.

From there to Neverland is a simple step, as long as you can fly that is, and The Old Rep team manage that with aplomb. It is not the easiest to make realistic but if you half closed your eyes, and you were a tot, you could believe.

All the traditional story is there, with Tinkerbell a light show rather than a physical form, which makes the scene where the need to believe in fairies to bring her back to life creates a more visual display for youngsters in the audience.

And there were plenty of youngsters watching a show which is family friendly from start to finish.

It might not be panto but it is certainly a festive treat with strong leads and a wonderfully talented ensemble who didn’t put a foot wrong.

Daniel O’ Neill’s set is flexible and works well with a raised gantry at the rear to add interest while Will Monks lighting and projections were spot on, highlighting, disguising and involving the audience at every turn.

Costumes (Leanne Fitchett) looked the part while choreography (Cici Howells) was never complicated nor dull and Clive Meldrum managed a good, clean, balanced sound especially on the songs (musical director Stephen Watkins)

With book, music and lyrics by Piers Chater Robinson and directed by Alec Fellows-Bennett, Pan will be flying in and out of Station Street to 31-12-23.

Roger Clarke



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