Reviewed – 1st February 2018
“the immersive element needs a lot more thought and a little reworking”
Neverland is “an immersive musical adventure”, a spin on the classic Peter Pan tale told from the perspective of JM Barrie. A Peter Pan story for grown ups if you like, which keeps the central characters of the original. The show starts well in a central set with the Llewelyn Davies children (the real life inspiration for the original story) getting ready for bed and reliving fantasies and stories from the depths of their imagination with a little help from JM Barrie himself. They interact with the audience, drawing people in to become involved with their stories and participants in the show. Dominic Hall plays a wonderful JM Barrie and delivers a particularly poignant monologue at the end of the show.
The musical sections are very good. The voices of Casey Andrews (Michael) and Simran Hunjun (Captain Hook) are magical. You eagerly await their next song. Lucie Treacher (George) is a gifted musician who entertains throughout the show with a range of conventional and non-conventional instruments.
Rachel Sampley uses strobe lightning with great impact for a battle scene which I felt was one of the highlights of the show.
The problem with the show was that it became chaotic when the audience was split up and taken to different locations. There was no coherence to this and it all seemed a little bit random. The breakout groups were taken to mini sets behind thin curtains. This added to the confusion particularly if you remained in the main room as you could hear part of the sub plot happening in the next room. The audience was left trying to figure out if you should follow what you could see or what you could hear.
This piece of theatre does have a lot of potential however the immersive element needs a lot more thought and a little reworking. The sub plot sets are a delight but not everyone gets to experience them. Possibly with a smaller audience and a more promenade style of immersion this could be a hit.
Reviewed by Angela East
Photography by Helen Maybanks
Vaults Theatre until 18th March