Disney’s Peter Pan Jr is this year’s fantastic production from Everyman Theatre for the Cardiff Open Air Theatre Festival 16 focused on a younger audience. The summer production has become a hot ticket for families, the reputation of previous years productions setting the bar high.
Director Emma-Jayne Parker has returned for a fourth year, so the magical formula which leaves younger audiences wow-ed is in very safe hands. As Beauty and the Beast did in 2015, Peter Pan left my children spellbound, and the best of company for the rest of the day.
The performances are the perfect duration for the audience, running at just over an hour, the shorter version kept the attention of children and adults alike. And of course, there was all the magic of Disney, with favourite songs, pixie dust, and happy endings.
Of course, CM at 7 was awestruck by Tinkerbell (Meg Jones). Like my 7 yo, Tinkerbell was performed perfectly- summing up the naughtiness and tenderness of the fairy. I couldn’t help but resonate that like fairies, perhaps children are only capable of holding one emotion at a time. It would explain a lot!
The boys were completely impressed with Peter Pan (Emily March) who brought a fantastic energy to the stage and all three got involved as Captain Hook (Brian Smith) took to the stage and the adventures really began.
Because whilst the main characters of the Peter Pan story were absolutely fantastic, the joy of this production really was in the ensemble moments- of Mermaids, Fairies, Pirates, Indians and the Lost Boys. Aled Gomer in the role of Chief Tiger Bamboo brought some wonderful comic moments to the performance, and for me, Georgia Tonge as Tiger Lily absolutely stole the moment with the power of her voice.
And there were the moments which keep the children talking. Whilst none of them guessed how Peter Pan would fly correctly (it was all they talked about on the drive to Sophia Gardens), all they could talk about on the way home was the crocodile- between bursts of ‘Never Smile At A Crocodile’, one of my favourite Disney songs. This song, as others, was interwoven perfectly with the clever choreography which was consistent throughout the production.
And just to make the magic complete, the children were delighted to be able to meet their favourite characters before we left to explore Bute Park.Cardiff Open Air Festival does performances aimed at young people wonderfully, and Peter Pan Jr ticks all the boxes across age ranges. A magical way to while away an hour in Cardiff.
Peter Pan Jr is at Sophia Gardens from the 23rd – 30th July 2016 with tickets available via the website.
Photography credit: Natalie Johnson-Rolley
Disclosure: We received a family ticket for the purpose of this review. All opinions and views contained are our own.