KYDS YOUTH DRAMA SOCIETY
PETER PAN
Director Jon Beales
Production Manager Alexandra Berriman Choreography Aaron Owen Bailey & Aimee Smith Performed at the Thurstable School Tiptree

 

July 2012

 

An ambitious choice for this group and I was impressed with the result!
Book Music and Lyrics by Piers Chater-Robinson based on the novel by J.M.Barrie was the classic story in theory but with many a twist along the way.
I felt the Prologue music was overlong and not all needed but to cut into this taped accompaniment I assume would have been difficult?
There were some issues with the music being a bit loud here and there with some of the quieter singers, but generally it worked very well and the intro’s into songs and lead ins were coped with really well.
Daniel Carr as Peter Pan had a great feel and style for this part and moved well on stage.
Abigail Morgan as Wendy had a sweet voice and sung with feeling and looked right in the part.
Peter Greenwood as John and Andrew Stocker as Michael were the other siblings in the Darling family, along of course with Nana the faithful dog played by Sophie Stocker and Mum & Dad played by Harry Burgin and Matilda Kelly.
The various groups of Captain Hook and his Motley crew were fun as was Captain Hook played by Brad Cole with gusto.
We also had the Indian Braves and the Lost Boys all very believably played by a great number of children and young people.
I like the backcloth for Neverland and the setting of the Indian Camp.
This was a show where a large cast changed characters along the way quite successfully.
At times the link between scenes could have been tighter and a few gaps here and there with dialogue but for a first night I thought it very good.
It was good to see so many people who had obviously helped in many ways mentioned in the programme.
It did cover parents and many people and I feel a special mention is well deserved to the chaperones doing a sterling job with so many children.
In terms of the shows I have seen KYDS perform I would rate it as one of the best and a good standard was achieved. Well done to you all including of course the Director Jon Beales Production Manager Alexandra Berriman and all the cast and crew. Keep up the good work.

 

Ann Platten

 

NORTH ESSEX THEATRE GUILD
SHOWCASE FESTIVAL 2011-2012

Group: Kyds Youth Drama Society
Production: Peter Pan The Musical by Piers Chater-Robinson Adjudication Date: Fri July 6, 2012
Venue: Thurstable School,Tiptree
Adjudicator: Liz Mullen

INTRODUCTION:

This was not a musical I’d encountered so far, and it was refreshing to find any production of Peter Pan outside the festive period.

FRONT OF HOUSE:

I was made most welcome and given a very good, reserved seat. The hall was buzzing with anticipation. The glossy programme contained all we needed to know and a themes wordsearch.

The interval raffle moved fairly swiftly and the fact that I won a prize was rather a bonus!

SETTING:

The first impression of the Darling children’s bedroom was quite a good one. We had cream walls with deep red stripes in the window bay.
The window was fully functional for those crucial exits and entrances and there were stars on the “glass”. There were beds, a chest (not totally in period perhaps), a chair, a teddy bear and a very nice kennel for Nana, complete with blanket and dog bowl.

My main qualm was that the beds were very basic and prison-like.

The token “flying” was cunningly done thanks to a hidden platform that could rise up and down behind a bed. Walking over to it so deliberately gave the game away a bit for we discerning adults.

Once we got to Neverland, the settings became very dramatic. The cast handled the different levels with confidence.
There was a superbly designed and painted backcloth that was wonderfully old- fashioned-looking – this really suited the genre. It had a look of paradise about it, with misty peaks and cascading waterfalls and – sinister touch – a rock shaped like a skull. Well done to the scenic artists.

The foreground rock may have been restrictive for movement, and made balancing tricky, but that was the whole point.
The Indian canoe was basic in technical terms, but played its part well. I really liked the totem pole and the moving waves – and of course the Wendy House which was put together in a very clever way.

 

LIGHTING & SOUND:

Some sound cues were a bit slow but the crew kept the recorded soundtrack at a good volume, and also had to cope with bringing the cast’s face mics up and down for songs.

The opening of the show was magical…tinkling atmospheric music, which seemed to build up like an approaching wind.

The lighting denoted the different locations and was used effectively to emphasise atmosphere.

COSTUMES:

Mother needed to look much more like a well-connected lady of that period and need a more suitable dress and hairstyle/wig. Rather more like the “portrait” of the family on the wall. Mr Darling’s suit was fine, however, as were the children’s nightclothes and Peter Pan’s outfit.

Tinkerbell looked fantastic in her lime costume, and the Lost Boys were imaginatively dressed. There was a touch of Lord Of The Flies about their furs, rags and cameo-painted faces.

Captain Hook looked suitably like a dastardly pirate king – things were kept pleasingly traditional here, resisting any temptation to update him to Johnny Depp! His pirates themselves also fitted in with the expected stereotype. The fairy chorus had charming outfits, the Indians sported a real tribal look and we all enjoyed Nana the dog’s appealing costume.

MUSIC/DANCE:

With the soundtrack recorded, it was to the credit of the young cast that the show did not feel like a karaoke night. There were fun songs and semi-romantic ones by way of balance. Not a memorable score apart from Rich Damp Cake, but pleasant enough and often well sung, with confidence.

The choreography generally worked well, whether serious or comical.
I particularly enjoyed the Braves To War number – until Tiger Lily broke unexpectedly into a form of Irish step dance. She performed it well – but was briefly and bewilderingly transformed into Tiger O’Lily.

 

ACTING:

Some of the casting seemed odd in that Peter Pan, Wendy and John were very tall, whereas Wendy’s father was dwarfed by two-thirds of his children. I agree that being, or not being, grown-up lies in the mind as much as one’s height, but a lofty Peter took some getting used to. Presumably Jon Beales cast those he thought would best tackle the acting and singing aspects of each role.

Mrs Darling: Matilda Kelly made a gentle and kind mother, though I’d have like to see more conviction and genuine feeling. Her second role as Bald Eagle was carried through with energy, which was true of all the “braves”.

Mr Darling: Despite being towered over by his lofty offspring, Harry Burgin was an effectively irritable and snappy Mr Darling, later doubling up effortlessly as Running Dog.

Wendy: The reed-slim Abigail Morgan sang sweetly in her songs with Peter and clearly enjoyed the chance to play “child-mother” to the Lost Boys. Abigail brought sincerity to the role and spoke well (as a girl of Wendy’s class would).

John: Like Wendy and Michael, John needs to convince us he comes from a fairly well-off family, and Peter Greenwood did so. He seemed very comfortable in the role and in John’s slight eccentricity.

Michael: Andrew Stocker made a well-behaved, nicely-spoken wide-eyed young Michael, working well as a team with his two stage siblings.

Nana/Tiger Lily: Sophie Stocker took on two key roles and did them justice. Her much put-upon dog, Nana, was appealing, while her Tiger Lily was even more credible (despite what I said about the oddity of breaking into a step dance). Her entrance in the Indian canoe was full of dignity like a true princess – straight of posture and calm of gesture.

Liza: Lucy Greed (later one of the splendid braves, Cunning Fox – AND pirate Mullins) had a cameo role as servant girl Liza but made it convincing as she wrestled to get the agitated Nana under control.

Peter Pan: Despite the unusual height of this Peter, Daniel Carr acted with good focus and sang well. There were hints of Peter’s inner confusion about his feelings for Wendy.

Tinkerbell: I was most impressed with Jodie Cole’s performance. She was not only a pretty Tinkerbell but also an extremely eloquent one. Expressing jealously and anger merely with gestures is not as easy as it might seem, but Jodie’s speechless “comments” were all the more effective for being so sharply defined. The only time she lost focus slightly was in the dance with Peter near the end when she seemed to be concentrating too hard on the moves to remember to smile. But still very good work from a girl I later found is only in her early teens.

 

Lost Boys: I must talk about the Lost Boys together because they worked well as a team and played their roles with enthusiasm. From the remorseful Tootles (Phoebe Jowett) to the enjoyable Twins (Ellie Vanson and Becky Wright) they were a pack of rascals with a poignant past. Becca Shortland’s Curly was equally good, and an extra word of praise should go to Lee Cole (Slightly) who calmly leaned against the disobedient door of the Wendy House when it kept threatening to fly open.

Captain Hook: I enjoyed Brad Cole’s controlled performance. Whether angry, fearful or oozing a sardonic wit, he was worth watching. His wry performance of the song about his “Rich-y damp cake” went down well with an appreciative audience.

Indian Chief: Alice Mason held herself with dignity and credible authority as the Chief, heading up a strong and lively scene.

Chayman: Another vital component of this scene was the shaman (or Chayman as written in the programme) and Daisy Greenwood tackled this with gusto.

Stalking Deer, Grizzly Bear, Singing Bull: Enjoyable support from fellow braves Katie Vallis, Ellie Macey and Ellie Russell.

Pirates: For me, Matthew Russell’s Smee was the most memorable of the main pirates, and he created a good little character with this. That’s not to detract from Cheyenne Coleman, Brad Thomson, Lucy Stephenson, Matthew Greed, Lucy Greed and Amy Turnridge, all of whom played a valuable part in the lively proceedings.

Other roles: Suffice it to say, many of the cast played multiple roles, ranging fro pirates to fairies to children, let alone Lost Boys. Well done for working so hard.

SUMMARY:

There were some slow cues, especially technically, on the night of my visit, but in general the young cast acted with enthusiasm.

It is to director Jon Beales’ credit that the show maintained a traditional feel from start to finish. You can’t mess with Barrie’s Peter Pan, and this faithful production was all the more enchanting for toeing the line. The lovely Neverland backdrop summed up this entire ethos brilliantly.

Overall, I found myself entertained and charmed.
Thank you for the invitation to see your show.

 

Liz Mullen
Adjudicator