LONDON (Reuters Life!) - A new stage version of J.M. Barrie’s classic tale of Peter Pan reinvents the story of the boy who never grew up, moving its traditional setting in Edwardian London to Victorian Edinburgh.
The co-production between the National Theater of Scotland and London’s Barbican Theater marks the 150th anniversary of the Scottish-born Barrie’s birth and is directed by John Tiffany.
This latest version of a tale, which has seen several incarnations on stage and screen since Barrie first penned it as part of a novel in 1902, starts at the Forth Railway Bridge in Edinburgh and was written David Greig.
Completed in 1890, a year before Barrie’s first novel was published and more than a dozen years before the premiere of Peter Pan, the bridge was a tremendous feat of British engineering made possible, in part, by the employment of a small army of young boys.
Greig thought that these poor kids shared a kinship with Barrie’s Lost Boys and maybe it was they who Barrie had in mind when he created the world of Peter Pan.
“With Peter Pan, JM Barrie wrote the most influential story ever written by a Scottish author,” Tiffany told Reuters at the premiere. “This is an opportunity to bring Peter Pan home.”
Tiffany said that he spent lot of time working on the production in Barrie’s homeland and reading a lot of Scottish fairy tales.
Although many aspects of Barrie’s original plot are intact, there are also notable differences beyond the fact that the location has changed.
Mister Darling now works as an engineer on the construction of the bridge, Tinkerbell is a flying and dancing flame, Nana, the dog, is an inanimate toy pushed around by two actresses, and the Lost Boys finally leave Neverland and start a real life.
However, the sword fights, flying sequences, pirates, a ticking crocodile and a terrifically wicked Captain Hook are as prominent as ever.
In this version Peter also goes to Wendy’s room looking for his lost shadow and leaves with her brothers Michael and John to Neverland.
Greig’s Peter Pan is as brave as any of his predecessors and delivers one of Pan’s greatest lines with panache.
“To die would be an awfully big adventure.”
Performances of Peter Pan are on at London’s Barbican Theater until May 29.
Tickets cost from 10 to 35 pounds.
Editing by Paul Casciato