Peter Pan at the Strand Review
By Anthony Borsato
Seen on the 10th of May 2019
This show asks how the story of Peter Pan would go if it was set in the 21st century and Neverland was a world of virtual magic.
Anywhere Festival was created for shows like Peter Pan at the Strand which is a site-specific modern retelling of the Peter Pan Mythos. Audiences follow Wendy and Peter Pan into an adventure; getting caught up in Tigerlilly’s and Hook’s feud over the leadership and ‘the mainframe’ of Neverland.
The show puts a smile on your face and is perfect for any young or young at heart theatre lovers amongst us. I wish I had brought my nephews along so that I could experience this through their eyes as well as my own.
What I enjoyed was, though Peter Pan was the titular character, it was the female characters and their relationships that drove the narrative forward e.g. Wendy and her Mother and Tigerlilly and Hook. We saw some great performances by Annie Sterling (as Wendy), Rebekah Ferguson (as Tigerlilly) and Raku Burton (as Hook).
But the true beauty of this performance was its embracement of the spirit of the Anywhere Festival. Site-specific theatre performances can be challenging. Artists not only have to struggle with all the turbulence that comes with creating theatre/art but they also have to balance the needs of a space that was not designed for performance. For Peter Pan at the Strand, the space was a multi-storey Shopping Arcade in Caloundra that I doubt the original architects had designed with performance in mind. But this space created a challenge that Lara Qualtrough and her team at Shiny Tin Productions rose to.
Audiences start upstairs on the second floor in The Art Hub where we are introduced to Wendy and Peter Pan before Tinkerbell leads us past the second star to the right as we descend to Neverland on the ground level. Where Neverland has been set up between another three distinct performance spaces that utilise the unique architecture of the space.
It really is this use of space that was exciting for all audience members. However, what came with beauty was a few struggles. The space was large, loud and had an echo meaning that at times the dialogue was hard to hear.
Even though there were a few dramaturgical issues with the narrative they are quickly overlooked because this is a story we have all grew up knowing and you are enjoying yourself too much to care. The show is an easy going and fun immersive theatre show suitable for the whole family. With a magical fairy, free popcorn, and an audience experience that is rare on the Sunshine Coast.
You can still catch Peter Pan at the Strand from the 23rd to the 25th of May 2019 at 7pm on Bulcock Street in Caloundra. Tickets available at: www.anywhere.is/listings/peterpan/