Review: Pleasantly chaotic show - Neverland, Theatre Delicatessen

Like the Johnny Depp film, Finding Neverland, this tells the story of how writer JM Barrie's friendship with an Edwardian family of small boys inspired Peter Pan. There the comparison ends.

Thursday, 14th December 2017, 8:56 am
Updated Friday, 15th December 2017, 1:40 pm
NeverLand at Theatre Delicatessen

For this is immersive theatre from the Guild of Misrule (in the manner of last year’s The Great Gatsby) and it takes us right to Neverland.

Audience members may find themselves thrust into a game of indoor cricket, dancing a ceilidh or joining a gang of pirates to waterbomb the Lost Boys.

From the main space we are led away in groups from time to time to smaller rooms for further interaction. You feel it would pay to make a return visit to find out what the others experienced.

There is something pleasantly chaotic about the experience but then they are not called the Guild of Misrule for nothing. Written and directed by Alexander Wright, it is full of mystery and surprise, ably conducted by a cast of eight, many of them multi-instrumentalist musicians, for songs composed by Gavin Whitworth in many different styles drive the action.

For all its joyful exuberance it is ultimately a sad story. Death seems to stalk the Llewelyn Davies family prompting an impassioned monologue by Barrie (a genial Dominic Allen) about the futility of war.

Besides the fun and games the play has something to say about serious issues such as the imagination, grief, family loyalty, the meaning of true courage, etc.

Oh and (spoiler alert) Peter Pan does fly.