Theatre Review: Wendy and Peter Pan at The Television Workshop

Words: Cleo Asabre-Holt
Saturday 30 March 2019
reading time: min, words

The third play in the Television Workshop season took place at Metronome and we were all hooked...


Directed by Ian Smith, Wendy and Peter Pan is a Television Workshop take on the classic fairy tale. Set in Victorian England, the play opens in the safety of the Darling children’s bedroom and quickly establishes a tone of innocent, playful mischief. John (played by Tom Unsworth), the typically boyish eldest sibling, excludes a very well mannered and kind Wendy (Ruby Thompson) from his gameplay, purely because she’s his younger sister. 

However, child mortality was high in Victorian England, and, after the loss of their brother Tom (Christopher Johnson), the youngsters soon face more serious challenges within the family: grief, alcohol misuse and marital problems. 

At this troubling juncture, an edgy Peter Pan (Laquarn Lewis) arrives on the scene. Soon, the Darling children are embarking on an adventure in search of Tom, flying to Neverland, a mystical faraway place. The use of shadow figures (Jake Smith, Harpal Hayer, Bradley Badder, Cainaan Skeels) to transport the group proved a very effective and innovatory technique, involving trust and physical prowess.



Dextrous acrobatics (Duncan Cosgrove, Ria Ashworth) during fight scenes were another much-appreciated addition to The Television Workshop’s acting flair.

Martin, the cabin boy (Maddie Hutchinson), was particularly entertaining and likeable, bringing high comedic value and a serving of unexpected sensitivity to the pirate role. Whilst Captain Hook (Harvey Scrimshaw) remains the archetypal villain, many of the characters of J.M. Barrie’s original works have become Disney stereotypes. Fortunately, The Television Workshop cast and Director challenge this. It is Wendy, torn between childhood and the responsibilities of adulthood, who holds the dramatic action, with the play seen through her eyes. Tiger Lily (Cara Dudgeon) is an exceptional fighter and a fearless and empowering female role model.

The play’s handling of bereavement is a delicate balance of poignancy, acceptance and transcendence – beautifully presented in moments where The Lost Boys are depicted as stars. As an audience, we learn that through loss and grief, we can grow.

Expect fistfuls of fairy dust, a very charismatic Tink (Rochelle Simpson), much childish mischief and possibly even the shedding of a few tears…

The Television Workshop 2019 season concludes from 2-6 April 2019 with Middletown

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