"Historical Play Packs Hard Punch"
by Gary Strachan on 28/10/12

Well written, well staged and well acted, "Peter" is Sell a Door Theatre's latest offering this autumn at the Lost Theatre in South London. This new play written by Stacy Sobieski is based on the boy that inspired JM Barrie's Peter Pan, and market's itself as 'picking up where Finding Neverland left off'. Given its historical accuracy, excellently fleshed out characters and stunning staging, this version has arguably picked up from where Finding Neverland struggled to reach.

Peter Llewelyn Davies was a reluctant young man who inspired a fantastical masterpiece as an unaware babe. Sobieski charts his progress from babe to adulthood as he struggles to gain control of his own identity. Unsought fame is a damning sentence for an ordinary man. Flashbacks bring in the tragic lives of this closest family, brothers Michael and George both dying tragically young, and mother and father Sylvia and Arthur dying of painful diseases when Peter was just a lad. There are some beautifully written scenes between Barrie and his second wife, Mary, who fought her own battle to gain his love in return for hers.

What, on the surface, may seem like a jumble of different story lines coalesces for Act two to make for a haunting slip into depression for Sobieski's protagonist. The scenes between Mary and Peter, serve as a warning for his impending doom as he looks further into the dark memories of his past for solace. The final scene between Peggy and Peter is heart breaking, as you see a young couple riddled with bad luck and unable to affect positive change for their own child.

Standout performances came from Stacy Sobieski as conflicted Mary, Evelyn Campbell as ballsy, loyal Peggy and Jemma Hines for her elegant turn as mother and wife Sylvia Llewelyn Davies. That said, the company as a whole was strong with no weak links held together firmly by David Hutchinson's sterling direction and stunning imagery on stage. The moments of sadness where so well conceived, with character walking an ivy ladder to Neverland, and the final scene where Peter relived the poignant moments of his life was utterly splendid.

Having searched online, the story is historically accurate making it all the more poignant. This is a historical play that packs a hard punch.

Other recent reviews by Gary Strachan
The Hound of the Baskervilles
Holmes with a Rare Twist by Gary Strachan
Lord of the Flies 2011 UK Tour
Outstanding Performances in Gripping Story by Gary Strachan