If sitting through a low-budget musical sequel to JM Barrie’s ‘Peter Pan’ sounds less appealing than being devoured by a man-eating crocodile then, er, you’ll probably find plenty to dislike about ‘Lost Boy’.
However, its composer and director, the prolific Phil Willmott, has hit on at least one strong idea: suggesting the bloodthirsty glee of Pan and his posse of Lost Boys wasn’t a childish phase but an Edwardian malaise. Set 11 years after Barrie’s 1904 play, ‘Lost Boy’ has the formerly immortal Peter (Steven Butler) entering the real world, where he reconnects with his old chums Michael, John, Slightly, Nibs and Tootles and gees them up to hurl themselves at German guns with all the Žlan they once summoned to terrorize Neverland’s pirate population. Only here, of course, there are consequences.
It’s an intriguing set up that occasionally resonates powerfully, but for the most part Willmott obfuscates ‘Lost Boy’s considerable potential with tawdry melodrama and indulgent detail.
A ludicrously overwrought Peter-Wendy-Tinker Bell love triangle tramples over the more thoughtful undercurrents, and ‘Lost Boy’s two hours are overstuffed with 24 vaudeville-styled pop songs, with almost everyone in the sprawling cast getting a solo number of some sort, many completely tangential to the story.
The sublime silliness of John’s OTT second half opener ‘Jungian Analysis Dream’ offers a brief vision of how fun ‘Lost Boy’ might have been if it weren’t so hidebound by soap operatic portentousness. It also suggests that the show might benefit from its imminent transfer to the larger Charing Cross Theatre, where Racky Plews’s choreography ought to have more room to breathe. Still, I don’t believe this ‘Boy’ is ever going to fly, alas.
By Andrzej Lukowski
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I had the extreme pleasure of seeing Lost Boy on Janaury 1st and found it to be the perfect way to start the new year! I so enjoyed the energy of the show and the individual performances were just superb! Here's wishing this makes it big so I can someday see it again but in the United States! Well done!! I left wishing I could buy the soundtrack!
Loved the show - the weird and wonderful mix of moods and styles emphasise that this is a dream and the players characters in it. The cast are so talented and the intimate nature of the Finborough heightened the emotions they so successfully portrayed -particularly in the case of Tinkerbell and Michael - fantastic! Will certainly see it again at the Charing Cross theatre and fully expect to have another 'awfully big adventure' with them!