Peter Pan - The Never Ending Story (Birmingham)
Kieran Johnson reviews the arena tour of ''Peter Pan - The Never Ending Story'' at Birmingham's NIA
Premiering at Birmingham's NIA, Peter Pan – The Never Ending Story embarks on a visual journey that captures spellbinding story with a glittering adventure. Promising flying techniques never seen before, the show felt somewhat lacklustre in its musical journey, but with outstanding special effects the show did make for an enjoyable evening this festive season.
The star attraction for much of the audience is the appearance of X Factor's Stacey Solomon, who narrates the entirety of Act One off stage, most likely from a pre-recorded track. Whilst her appearance is pleasant enough as she gave her rendition of "You Raise Me Up" (suspended in mid-air, naturally), the five minute cameo was the most underused celebrity casting I've ever witnessed. She quickly exited the stage after her song and continued to narrate off stage.
Peter Pan was played by the talented Sandor Stürbl. His unique ability to move across the enormous stage and carry his song in perfect voice was an achievement for the show. The hugely talented stellar ensemble demonstrated their precision choreography with ease and a great ability. Moving from ballroom scenes with Mr and Mrs Darling to contemporary pirate with Captain Hook, the dancers ensured that this was a remarkable dance show.
As a musical I felt it had failed; the disjointed selection of songs left me almost embarrassed. I'm not sure why Captain Hook (Wim Van Den Driesche) belted out Nessun Dorma upon every entrance but it was truly bizarre and irrelevant to the story. Peter Pan chased his shadow to the rhythm of "In The Shadows" and Captain Hook's pirates moved around the stage to "Wildboys". The music didn't work well together and the seemingly lazy selection of songs left little to the imagination.
Peter Pan – The Never Ending Story continues to tour nationwide until January 16.