Image by Natalie Johnson-Rolley
It seems that this year is the year of open air theatre. In the heart of Sophia Gardens we await to be transported by the boy that never grew up across the skies of Cardiff to Neverland.
With a cast of young performers ranging from very small to older groups, this large cast has the great task of a 1 hour production of the Disney rendition of this great story.
Our main characters are as happy and go lucky as we expect them to be – their singing voices very accomplished for such young actors. They are confident and in keeping with their characters. The role of the Dad and of Hook is played by an adult male- a very tasteful decision in showing the patriarchal hold of women at the time with his demands of Wendy becoming a lady and to also show the difference between children’s freedom and adult restriction. The highlight of men vs women running throughout the play and especially with the song entertaining lyrics of brave men, soon to be changed by Tiger Lily and Wendy to Brave girls is a lovely boost and message for growing girls and young women.
The ensemble all evidently worked very hard for their parts – doubling up for different characters and adjusting well to show the difference from Pirates to Indians to Lost Boys and Fairies with ease and skill.
There is an element of pantomime with the production- the costumes are bright and stereotypical but this is Disney and relatable to the children of the audience -some very young. The use of a clever prop flying high in a snake like fashion over the stage for the crocodile was inventive and really enjoyable to witness.
It did feel as though the smoke machine operator was a little over enthusiastic- at times the stage was disguised and us audience too with an abundance of smoke that it was hard to see the performers and how hard they were working.
Overall this is a lovely and humble family show. A condensed version of the Disney film, it’s entertaining for all families of all ages.
[ usr 3]