Lost in exposition: The Lost Boy

A musical based on Peter Pan growing up and heading off to fight in  the Great War is the premise of The Lost Boy musical currently playing at Charing Cross Theatre.

It is an interesting concept. The generation of men who first grew up reading JM Barrie's Peter Pan did end up going to war. They may have even thought it was going to be an adventure rather than a nightmare. Legend also has it that Barrie's eldest adopted son, George Llewelyn Davies, who was the inspiration for Peter Pan and killed during the war in 1915, was carrying a copy of the story in his pocket.

So in this story Llewelyn Davies, about to go out to the battle field, has a dream where Peter Pan reunites with the lost boys and goes to war to prove to Wendy he is a man. Along the way we find out that Tinkerbell has become a street walker, one of the lost boys is gay trapeze artist and so on and so on.

If only a decision was made to focus on one or two of the characters. Things start to get a bit confusing as there are so many stories to be told... And each one has its own song... that you feel like you could be there all night (and you almost are)...

It is one of the few times where I thought it was a musical that would benefit from the majority of the songs being cut as they don't serve the story particularly well. The music isn't particularly varied or lively and the arrangements only bring out the most sombre tones in this production.

Of course the production looks smart, the cast are lovely and sing their hearts out, but all told the show doesn't feel like it is working. It isn't aided by the cumbersome (and at times frightening) choreography either...

It runs until February 15 but will then have a two-week pause where some minor changes and cuts are proposed.

This might make for a better show, but then again, the show has had quite a number of raves for just the way it is already. The show will reopen on 3 March and run through to 29 March.

**

 Photo credit: Production photo Scott Rylander from the Finborough Theatre Production which ran December / January 2013


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