‘Do you like being a grown-up, Mummy?’. It’s something I’m asked from time to time by our 6 year-old, usually when I’m at the sharp end of parenting (under the table clearing up another broken bowl or dealing with a potty training disaster, for example). Aside from certain benefits, like having the last say on which biscuits we buy, he’s not at all sure about this being-an-adult business. Nor is Wendy Darling in Mike Kenny’s witty and wise retelling of Peter Pan, Underneath a Magical Moon, brought to life by Tutti Frutti Productions at York Theatre Royal.
Wendy sits out with her brothers under the stars in a modern day back yard – cleverly recreated in the intimacy of the York Theatre Royal Studio space – and wonders if she’ll become an astronaut or, as her brothers fear, turn into one of those girls on the back of the bus. She worries that she might not even remember camping out with her brothers when she’s older.
But we’re sure she’ll remember this particular night of adventure. As the moon shines above them, the three siblings embark on unimaginable adventures. By being brave and spreading their wings, they battle pirates, come face to face with the tick-tocking clock o’dial and become mermaids in one of the funniest set-pieces we’ve seen in a long time. Wendy is strong and clever – no saccharine Disney heroine here – and the ups and downs of the sibling relationship will strike a chord with many.
All the familiar elements of Peter Pan are there – Peter, Tinkerbell, Captain Hook and the Lost Boys are all brought to life by the terrific trio of actors. They sing, they dance, they play any instrument they turn their hand to and they transform the set from back yard to Neverland and back again seamlessly. It’s a joyful, energetic, funny and thoughtful production that will appeal to all ages, the grown up and not-so-grown-up. Our six year old loved it, and so did I. It’s children’s theatre at its best. Pure magic.
Underneath a Magical Moon runs at York Theatre Royal until Saturday 22nd October 2016. Recommended age 3+. Running time one hour. For tickets, visit the York Theatre Royal Box Office.