There are some big pantomimes going on this Christmas across the city with Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, but the Groundling’s Theatre is offering something different with it’s production of the children’s story. Peter Pan. Not a ‘They’re behind you!’ in sight.
Showing from December 10 until January 1, the cast has been rehearsing for the run since the beginning of the school summer holidays.
The classic tale follows Peter Pan, and Wendy and her brothers, as they fly from Kensington, London to Neverland. With lost boys, mermaids, Indians, and a certain Captain Hook to deal with, it’s one of the best-known adventure stories.
Richard Stride, artistic director of Groundling’s Theatre is directing the production.
He says: ‘We didn’t want to do panto for obvious reasons really. We didn’t want to compete with the Kings Theatre, it’s important for the company to have a difference.
‘Some people like pantos at Christmas, while others like to watch stories. It gives people something else to watch.’
With all of the main characters under 18, apart from Smee, Richard believes Peter Pan gives the young people strong roles to play.
He explains: ‘We wanted to do something a little bit different. It gives strong roles for youths, and we did a lot of workshops and casting and we thought as a team that Peter Pan would a great option.
‘Some really fantastic kids are taking part, and because of the way the theatre is we have to use our imagination a lot more. We have brought in people to help them learn.’
A physical stage company came over from Spain to held the children perform for a particular scene where the pirates decide to cook. With sequences that involve flying, ballet has been worked into rehearsals. Richard says it’s ‘simple but effective.’
While playing one of the ugly sisters in Cinderella at the Kings Theatre, Southsea, this Christmas it’s not going to be the easiest of months for the actor and director.
Richard adds: ‘It will be hard needing to be here at the same time, trying to get both working. If you see me running from one theatre to the other you know why. Expect to see a dressed-up woman on a bicycle pedalling furiously.’
Lewis Robinson is playing Captain Hook, Declan Murphy is Peter Pan, Emily Day is Wendy, Brian Davey is Smee, while Shannon Taylor plays Tinkerbell.
n Tickets cost £7.50 to £17 from Groundlings Theatre, Portsea on (023) 9273 7370 or go to groundlings.co.uk.