REVIEW: Peter Pan, Chichester Festival Youth Theatre

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The youth theatre are back with their annual Christmas outing, a creative rendition of JM Barrie’s best-loved piece.

A curious directorial choice – to blend Barrie’s original, dense 1904 dialogue with a 2016 setting – jars slightly, but the young performers handle its intricacies well.

The press night cast (as with all youth-theatre productions, this is double-cast) were impressive. Barrie’s dialogue doesn’t allow much pace at the opening, but Alexander Hughes and Shannon Hay (Mr and Mrs Darling) and Sephora Parish, Rudi Millard and Finn Elliot (Wendy, Michael and John) give it life.

Sami Green, as Barrie’s dark hero (and Pan is dark), is joyous and petulant, selfish and caring – a tricky combination for an experienced professional, but nicely handled by this young man. His struggle with his shadow (Freddie Hill) is particularly pleasing. As his sidekick, Tinker Bell, Darcy Collins is scene-stealingly enjoyable.

The clever design (the children’s bedroom is perverted into a nightmare version representing Neverland), Eamon O’Dwyer’s haunting score and Dale Rooks’ detailed direction are all excellent. Until December 31.