Sunday, June 06, 2010
Never Grow Up
'Peter Pan' seems pretty gay-friendly, right? A boy who refuses to stop having fun and turning every girl into his 'mother', thus instantly eliminating any sexual tension between them. And the only other women mentioned are mermaids - who want to keep hold of you in their fishy domain for the rest of your life (their words, not mine). Oh and Tigerlily, who is so clearly on the Girl Bus, with all her fighting, and sudden friendship of Wendy. I've never given it much of my time; I'm more into 'Alice in Wonderland' myself. And I can't stick fricking 'Wizard of Oz' - Dorothy is such a bore; she lands in a brand-new fabulous place and spends her time trying to get back to flat, grey Kansas. The present Mrs Binding agrees, equating Dorothy one of those dramatic, tiresome girls at a party who makes a big show about having a horrid time, and getting all her friends to take her home.
Anyway, I digress. I was at the Barbican on recently to see a performance of 'Peter Pan' that tries so hard to stretch the source material, yet despite all efforts, was still a glorified pantomime. I shan't bore you with my review of the play; there's a far better one that the present Mrs Binding has written over here. But I will tell you that the audience you get at the Barbican are a little more... well, lets just say I didn't hear the few opening lines of the play because of all the children around me eating healthy probiotic musli bars, their alice band-sporting mummies shushing them while rummaging about in their giant Lana Marks handbags for a tissue. And swear to Cher, when one child was asked by his father whether he'd read 'Peter Pan' he responded with 'I think I do, yes. But mummy may have brought it me in Norwegen..." Also overheard was a ten-year-old in front of me saying "Well, what do you expect from the Lib Dems?" to his eight-year-old sister, and the child to their left getting told off for playing with his Blackberry during the first half. Very odd for a play that is about people refusing to grow up.
Thankfully the audience interaction for the moment Tinkerbell dies was dropped from this version of the play; I could imagine the harried mother in front leaning across her brood to say "Don't clap, children. Navvys 'clap'. We applaud". Here, Tink was played by a ball of fire bobbing about the stage that went out as she died. This left Peter gamely trying to get her going again with a serrupticious flick of his flint lighter (quite visible from our seat) and it took a quite a few goes to get going again. Clearly this Peter didn't quite believe enough. Yet when the lights went up at the end, dotted throughout the Blackberry-carrying children were scores of the aforementioned Gentlemen Who Can't Catch. You didn't need to clap your hands to believe in fairies, you clearly just had to stay around the Gents loos long enough.