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Proteus Theatre - Peter Pan

On tour winter 2005-2006.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Catch the magic

Peter Pan, at Croft Hall, Hungerford, on Sunday, December 11

Hungerford's Croft Hall has played host to a fine range of travelling entertainment in recent months, and Proteus Theatre's Peter Pan was an excellent way to round off the year.

James Barry's adaptation of the J M Barrie classic set out, according to the programme notes, to make sure that the story remained 'vibrant, exciting, fun and above all magical' while retaining the serious underlying messages of the original work.

It achieved its objective masterfully and, once the small but eager audience had gained the confidence to cheer and hiss at appropriate moments, the performance really took off.

Mary Swan's production was designed to amuse and enchant in every detail. The simple set -consisting of a bed, a very versatile climbing frame, and a maze of drawers, doors and boxes that opened magically and often to great comic effect - was complemented by 'fairy lights' that neatly traced Tinkerbell's invisible movements, and by projected aerial film that provided an impressive backdrop for Peter and Wendy's flight to Neverland.

Sarah Gobran was instantly engaging as the dreamy Wendy, and she was well matched with Chris Lindon, who gave a dynamic and athletic performance as the impish Peter. The two actors captured the joy and tension of their relationship with great sensitivity.

Clive Holland as the world-weary Hook and his comic sidekick Michael Castleton gave a superb performance full of well-timed slapstick, while Claire Stanley showed her versatility by doubling up as Mrs Darling and the lovable lost boy Tootles.

This was truly a family show, and the star was probably the young boy in the row in front of us, whose infectious giggling and excited interaction with the characters proved that Proteus had really managed to recreate the magic of a story that has delighted generations of children. Catch it if you can!