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A CurtainUp London London Review
Peter Pan El Musical

Relishes and chilblains that's a devastating plan!— Capitan Gafio
Peter Pan El Musical
Miguel Antelo as Peter Pan
Dear oh dear! There's no accounting for national differences in terms of popular culture! For many years we would watch the Eurovision song Contest with tears of mirth running down our faces as Terry Wogan candidly commented on the bizarrely untuneful choices of the member nations. So it is with Pater Pan El Musical! We are told over a million Spaniards have seen it but how could they sit through this paella of a show unquestioningly?

This musical breaks new heights of dreadfulness, can it be worse than Notre Dame de Paris or Romeo and Juliet the musical? My fellow critics who have given this show a thorough panning (apologies for the Pan er I mean pun) were comparing it with one I thankfully missed, The Man in the Iron Mask.

Where else would you see Captain Hook (Miguel Ángel Gamero) singing a pretty ballad as he contemplates killing Peter Pan (Miguel Antelo) "the boy in the leaves dress"? Where could you expect to see the emotional climax of the Save Tinkerbell movement with Peter banging on the stage with his fists and crying real tears in an attempt, largely and inexplicably successful, to get the audience to stand up and take the Fairy Oath. The only contact we have had with Tinkerbell has been a disembodied green laser beam jetting around the set. Even the flying scenes take place in near darkness and in flying terms are more of a hoisted vertical take off than a fly past. The creative team are also in the cast. Cristina Fargas doubles as the director and Mrs Darling, the Vocal Director Miguel Angel Gamero is also the villain Capitan Garfio and the children's father Mr Darling. Wendy (Isabel Malavia) is obviously very sincere and Tiger Lilli (Marta Velasco) is nubile.

In the opening scene, some London street dancers appear in the children's bedroom as the gigantic Nana dog, looking like something that escaped from the television series Primeval about prehistoric monsters, think cross between Olde English Sheepdog and small mammoth, is not allowed to do her job guarding the children properly. The furniture in the children's bedroom looks as if it has been made of Play Doh!, rounded edges where there should be square, oversized and Daliesque but the pirate ship is good enough especially considering that this scenery is often set up for a single night's performance somewhere.

My companion greatly appreciated the dance of the busty mermaids as they wiggled their green fishy tails in the air and I enjoyed the Red Indian dancers to frenetic drumming, Native Americans seems so un J.M.Barrie. The music wasn't particularly to my taste but the singing was excellent and the cast obviously have enough appreciative people in the audience not to have to be bothered by the critics. The surtitled lyrics were unintentionally comic and served to divert.

Miguel Antelo as Peter Pan is full of energy and good nature and it is impossible to dislike his performance in this otherwise curious show. Captain Smee (Pedro Espadas) goes for some audience participation asking children to show their teeth and hands to ensure that they aren't lost boys which is popular with the audience.

Peter Pan El Musical
Written by JM Barrie
Directed by Cristina Fargas who also wrote the libretto

Starring: Miguel Ángel Gamero, Cristina Fargas, Miguel Antelo, Isabel Malavia
With: Inma Fernández, Silvia Villau, Rafel Brunet, Isabel Alfonso, Pedro Espadas, Fernando Samper, Israel Quintana, Marta Velasco, Gorane Markinez, Andrea Rodríguez, Antonio Garde, Alejandro Boned, Chelo Ramírez, Ana Torres, Maxi Silvera, Alberto Arcos, Pascual Ortí, Roberto Carlos, Andrea Ramírez, Jordi Vall
Choreographer: Lamberto Garcia
Associate Director: Jordi Vall
Vocal Direction: Miguel Ángel Gamero
Composer: Cesar Constanti
Producer: Tomas Padilla
Design: Miguel Padilla
Costume Design: Penn O'Gara
Lighting: Cristina Fargas
Sound: Rafel Porta
Running time: Two hours 15 minutes with one interval
Box Office: 0870 890 1104
Booking to 27th April 2008
Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge based on 31st March 2008 at the Garrick Theatre, Charing Cross Road London WC2 (Tube: Charing Cross)

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