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Peter Pan - The Barn Theatre Virtual Review

The Barn Theatre in Cirencester has to take the award for Theatre of the Year for 2020. Throughout this whole difficult time, they've managed to create some truly outstanding work both on the stage and digitally. Their latest offering is a re-telling of the J.M. Barrie classic Peter Pan, which is being both performed on stage and streamed internationally.

Waylon Jacobs in Peter Pan. Photo by Eve Dunlop.

Waylon Jacobs plays a Dad who enters a hotel room thousands of miles away from his family. He video calls his daughter (voiced by Georgia Dibbs) who wants him to read her Peter Pan as a bedtime story. Rather reluctantly he gives in and begins this enchanting tale using the things around the hotel room as props, for example using two teddy bears as the Darling brothers, John and Michael. 

Jacobs throughout is fantastic, enchantingly bringing each character to life perfectly. He is mesmerising to watch with such a strong stage presence. I was so engrossed in his storytelling that I completely forgot that we were even in a hotel room!

The whole production value on this show is remarkable. Everything part of the creative team has superbly created Neverland on the Barn Stage. Director Kirk Jameson's production is first class.

Waylon Jacobs in Peter Pan. Photo by Eve Dunlop.

Designer Gregor Donnelly uses what at the start appears a fairly bare space and transforms the audience right into the heart of Neverland. The transition from the bare white wall of the hotel room into the Neverland as the Darling's fly off is brilliant. The use of props is really well thought through, whether it's the bears I already mentioned or the use of a coat hanger as a bow and arrow, it allows your imagination to be transported right to the heart of the story. Joe Price's lighting design is clever, the reveal of Captain Hook using an umbrella is outstandingly staged. Nick Barstow's gorgeous score adds a layer of real emotion that can be both thrilling and heartfelt.

The visual highlight of the production comes in the way of the projections by Benjamin Collins. The animators have created great drawings that really enhance the production. It's like having the world that J.M. Barrie created jump right out of your imagination and on to the stage. The sequence as the Darling's return to London was particularly powerful.

As an audience, you want to hear stories told well that give you escapism. Here I felt like I was a young boy again watching a magical tale being told right before my eyes. Theatre at it's best transports you to a different place. It allows you to leave your troubles at the door and be free for the duration of a show. Whilst I watched the production in my bedroom rather than in the Barn itself I felt as if this story was being told just for me and I was in Neverland. This is theatre at its powerful storytelling best. Utterly magical.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

Peter Pan plays at the Barn Theatre in Cirencester until January 3rd 2021. The production will stream internationally between 23rd December 2020 and 3rd January 2021. For tickets visit 

Waylon Jacobs in Peter Pan. Photo by Eve Dunlop.

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