Centrepoint, Palmerston North

07/07/2018 - 29/07/2018

Production Details

When the Darling children receive a visit from the mischievous Peter Pan, the group are spirited away to a magical world free of grown-up rules. But their exhilarating new life soon turns dangerous when Wendy and her brothers find themselves caught in a battle between “the boy who wouldn’t grow up” and the notorious Captain Hook. 

This winter, join us as we adventure to Neverland to meet J.M. Barrie’s most adored characters wildly reimagined. Featuring a hilarious turn from The Naked Samoans’ David Fane as Hook with a chorus of characters played by Centrepoint’s Basement Company, this modern retelling is a fresh and fast-paced ride. It’s filled with sly in-jokes for the adults and a whole lot of heart for everyone else – fun for the whole family!

Centrepoint Theatre
280 Church Street, Palmerston North
7 – 29 July 2018
Tuesday – Sunday at 6,30pm
Saturday & Sunday at 2pm
Post-Show Q+A: Wednesday 11 July
Adult • Full $45; Early Bird $40
Senior • Full $37; Early Bird $35
Concession* • $25
Child (under 15) • $15
Pick’n’Mix • $35  
*Students and Community Services Card holders. Valid I.D. is required. 

Theatre , Family ,

Peter Pan has a real hook

Review by Richard Mays 10th Jul 2018

Peter Pan has never been so jolly rollicking.  

Over the past 114 years, the timeless tale about the non-aging Neverland fly-boy has been animated, danced, filmed, mercilessly pantomimed, and even has its own syndrome.  

But this Centrepoint Theatre production takes on the story with an entirely different approach.  

Directed by theatre chief Dan Pengelly, it has been cleverly re-imagined thanks to the creative powers of ensemble improvisation.

Seventeen members of Centrepoint Theatre’s teen Basement Company and three professional ring-ins, have dragged the original Edwardian fairy-tale into contemporary times and recognisable spaces.

The result is an intelligent, inventive and at times over-the-top re-boot characterised by lively dollops of off-the-wall wackiness and the odd bit of gender reassignment.

Imagination combined with energetic physicality run riot, and the hallmarks of Pengelly’s improv background at Court Theatre in Christchurch are everywhere.

The ensemble cast are equally effective whether they’re playing the scenery or chewing it.

From being beds in the Darling household nursery – relocated from London to the Palmerston North suburb of Summerhill – they provide the lift so Peter, Tinkerbell, Wendy, John and Michael can fly.

Then as a crew of crazy-clown pirates, they quickly transmute into a clan of Lost Boys, switch into mermaid mode, or become members of America’s “First Nations”.

Dave Fane of Naked Samoans, Bro’town, Sione’s Wedding and Wellington Paranormal fame, making his first appearance at Centrepoint since Niu Sila last decade, plays a compulsively eviscerating Captain James “Elizabeth” Hook who suffers from clinical depression. 

While Fane maintains a central presence, stuntwoman Lizzie Tollemache and circus performer David Ladderman blend comfortably with the kids as knockabout characters and ensemble members.

In particular Katie Atkins as Wendy, Rachel McLean as John, Hayden Day as Peter, Ryan Ngarimu as Tinkerbell and Finn Davidson as Smee, make those characters their own. Trent Hooper’s short sax solo is a bonus.

If the action flagged slightly in the second half, the young cast had performed an earlier matinee, and will have to learn to pace themselves on those double-bill days.

There is possibly a bit more overt adult and gender-inclusive humour than some parents could be expecting, but this Peter Pan is a tick-tock croczilla of a performance piece.


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Boisterous, riotous and punchy

Review by Adam Dodd 08th Jul 2018

In Peter Pan director Dan Pengelly draws together the talents of three professional actors and seventeen members of Centrepoint’s own Basement Company (an initiative cultivating the talents of young emerging artists since 2005). Devised from J M Barrie’s original, this boisterous modern retelling is the product of the cast’s collective imagination, wit, and sense of adventure. 

There is an energy that gathers amidst a crowd of all ages. A natural clamour that builds. This is rife as the audience waits, distracted by jellybeans – but as the lights change and music lifts, everyone stills with a focus.

As the action begins, my first impressions are of the set and costuming. Visually engaging and characterful, they are both equally striking and reciprocally complementary. Harvey Taylor’s set design is evocative of a play fort, sporting caches of toys and treasure alike. The fort’s central wooden scaffold provides a focal point serving as tree-house, ship’s mast and window balcony. Amy Macaskill’s costuming is visually nuanced and diverse but with a cohesive aesthetic. Visual nods are given to traditional and modern retellings of the story from film and stage alike. 

Their efforts are crafted for utility of space and action, while serving to illustrate the spirit of the troupe wonderfully. Quick changes are facilitated with an impressive economy of action, utilising transformation touches that change both location and character.

The cast is sharp and energised from the outset, even as a few voices suggest colds are threatening. There is a rich character and whimsy to the performance, buoyed by a rapid pace and contrasting action. This is further heightened with clever use of props and the ensemble itself (bodily) to meet challenges, readily being offered up to provide additional furniture or facilitate flight.

While greater experience provides an undeniable strength to the older members of the cast (including Basement Company alumni), I am utterly impressed with the performance of the company as a whole. There is a textured embodiment of character often only seen in the most proficient of performances but which seems to be a staple of Centrepoint’s shows.

Of particular note, David Fane’s Captain Hook is delightful, endearing and thoroughly murderous – just a touch – a touch constantly. Alongside Lizzie Tollemache and David Ladderman of Rollicking Entertainment Ltd (Mrs and Mr Darling plus others), Katie Atkins (Wendy), Rachel Mclean (John), and Leon Bristow (Michael) – each stands out as a linchpin to the ensemble.   

Each character is invested with dimensions and life beyond the story, leaving several relations transformed. While this uniformly adds depth and nuance it also highlights the normalcy of figures that are more often depicted as extraordinary archetypes. As such, Hayden Day’s Peter, performed with great polished bravado, doesn’t become the focus that would be expected.   

Boisterous, riotous and punchy, the action is fast paced and enthralling.  Initially this threatens to become too busy to fully take in. Warming to the action it becomes easier to follow but audience members will want to keep their wits about them. Scene transitions are agile and active, shifting focus but always building humour. 

The humour itself is faceted and targeted at a broad audience, ranging from playful physical interplay through banter and parody – often marvellously clever and peppered with subtle/not subtle adult moments, though at times more crude than clever. The range and modernity of references contrasts with the source material but doesn’t diminish it.

Limericking beat poet First Nations; Mean Girl cliques of Mermaids; Reality Television Pirates – the show has elements that with appeal to and amuse all ages, but with that said some might be put off by a few of the jokes. Given the opportunity, at just under two hours this is an excellent show to see over the school holidays. 


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