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Peter Pan
4 stars

Leith on the Fringe (venue website)
16-21, 23-28 Aug, 10:15am-11:15am; 16, 18, 19, 21, 23, 25, 25, 28 Aug, 1:30pm-2:30pm
Reviewed by Rachel Hartley-Davison

 Family-friendly. Suitable for all ages.

JM Barrie encouraged children to fly to magical lands in Peter Pan – and in this re-imagining of the story; ANGELS Aerials bring those dreams ever closer, with their superb production of this much-loved tale.

In a nice touch, children are met at the stage door and encouraged to sit on three blue crash mats at the front of the theatre space. From this vantage point in the vast Out of The Blue drill hall, dozens of little eyes are entranced for the next 60 minutes. The cast swoop from all sides and perform a visual feast that is perfectly suited to the themes of flight in the tale.

The 10.15am performance is even followed by an 'aerial skills workshop' which invites the whole family to ‘reach for the stars and soar above the stage’.

The set is pretty basic, which in reality enhances the spectacle of the aerial performers. Equally, the cast is small with several character crossovers – but I felt that this was a useful device and the actors deftly changed costume and props so as not to leave the plot languishing. There were some issues with dialogue, which was occasionally sacrificed by the demands of the aerial stunts. 

From the get-go, the audience are surrounded by the main Peter Pan characters – Tigerlilly prowls past the children seated at the front, Wendy floats across in suitably whimsical style and Hook strides forth with ferocious swagger. The tale is fast-paced, and thus smaller children may be confused at both plot and character changes. However, the older (6+) audience will be mesmerised.

Of particular note is the perfectly pitched Captain Hook (played by the multi-talented Susanne Beschorner, who is also the artistic director and choreographer). Her time spent with the legendary Fuerzabruta company is clearly evident – this production is as magical as it is technically accomplished. And it features a ballet-dancing crocodile!

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