Peter Pan

Castle Gardens, Norwich

Castle Gardens, Norwich

Norwich Castle Gardens doubled as Neverland on Sunday, as the Chalkfoot theatre group kicked off the Open Stages programme of summer performances with their version of JM Barrie's evergreen tale.

Specially adapted for outdoor performance by director Philip Dart, the production tackled the story of Wendy and John Darling's encount-er with Peter Pan with ingeniously simple set design, aided by an appropriate sprinkling of make-believe. Children miraculously 'flew' thanks to small see-saws built into the stage.

The imaginative direction complemented a strong cast who carried off the at times hilariously un-PC dialogue with aplomb - at one point Wendy (a suitably jolly-hockey-sticks Natalie Ball) anxiously exhorted Peter (John Cockerill) not to “forget to change his flannels”.

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Michael Duncan entertainingly played Hook as an oily, caddish Tory MP. Kevin Kemp also had great fun as Hook's haplessly ineffectual sidekick, Smee.

Despite the odd spot of rain, children, mums and dads and even the temporarily displaced adolescent cider-drinkers watching from the sides were rapt by this fresh take on a classic yarn.

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