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The Old Rep is a young people driven theatre situated on Station Street in the centre of Birmingham, presenting a year-round programme of theatre, dance, comedy, musicals and creative workshops.

Old Rep is an iconic venue that occupies a unique place in theatre history as Britain’s first purpose-built repertory theatre.

The Old Rep Theatre,

Station Street,


B5 4DY


Telephone: 0121 359 9444

Email: boxoffice@oldreptheatre.co.uk

Peter Pan Musical at Birmingham’s Old Rep Theatre brings together a cast and creatives of both professionals and students at Birmingham Ormiston Academies in a production which showcases future talent while giving current families lots of Christmas entertainment.

The show follows the usual J M Barrie story as children Wendy, John and Michael are whisked away by the boy who never wants to grow up Peter Pan to Neverland. Here they befriend the Lost Boys, who are simply termed The Lost in this production, battle with Pirates and fight the dastardly Captain Hook.

This production is definitely a musical rather than a pantomime although there is still the opportunity for audience members to indulge in a bit of audience participation, booing Hook and ensuring the survival of Tinkerbell by singing ‘we believe in fairies’.

The book, music and lyrics by Piers Chater Robinson ensure an exciting show with some great songs matched by lively choreography by Cici Howells. Directed by Alec Fellows-Bennett, the production perfectly melds professional and amateur so that the entire show feels like it’s on a professional scale.  And Daniel O’Neill’s sets are colourful and imaginative – he even succeeds in getting a very large crocodile on stage!

Playing Pan, Thea Jo-Wolfe, has the exuberant youngster down to a tee but she also ensures we are aware of a sadder side to Pan. This is, after all, a lost child who does not feel he can ever fit into the happy families of the real world. And while his friendship with Rhian Lynch’s Wendy is verging into romance he is unwilling to give up childish things to be ‘father’ to The Lost.

Wendy is the lynchpin for both her own family and The Lost and she moves from childhood to young womanhood as she takes on the role of mother to the children. Eager to embrace them all, she exudes warmth and comfort.

Of course Peter Pan needs the perfect foil in an evil Captain Hook and Matthew Christmas is convincingly nasty. Strutting around, twirling his moustache and waving his hook, he has the touch of the pantomime baddy so it is not surprising the audience are booing him. Christmas also gives a fun performance as Mr Darling, a dad who is trying not very successfully to live up to the role of head of the family.

There is plenty of humour in the show, not just from Hook but also from his fellow pirates not least the foolish Smee played by Stefan Davis and the leader of the gang Starkey played by Penny Ashmore.

The students are also giving it plenty of gusto, clearly enjoying being on stage and playing their roles as pirates and children with confidence.

There is plenty to like in this production from the flying special effects, the colourful characters and the heartfelt message of friendship and family. Each year the Old Rep ensures a traditional Christmas show full of festive cheer and Peter Pan continues that tradition.

Reviewed by Diane Parkes at the Old Rep, Birmingham, on Saturday 9 December. Peter Pan continues to show at the venue until Sunday 31 December.

on Mon, 11 Dec 2023