Sydney based theatre company Little Eggs Collective puts a twist on the classic Peter and Wendy characters at the Seymour Centre.
J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan has had an enduring legacy since it was first published in 1911, mainly due to the success of the Disney film which propelled it across the world. It’s a tale that many are well aware of and may seem a bit tired to revisit. However, Little Eggs Collective takes the story back to its original roots as a play. This new reimagining turns its famed characters into Australian youths and creates a production that is part performance, part immersive art piece, part rave at the Reginald Theatre.
After an electrifying opening from the small but strong cast, each of the characters deliver a monologue interspersed between dance breaks and other bombastic moments of fighting, choreography and movement perfectly tailored to the performers themselves. It’s a freeform work of art that becomes a fragmented episodic mediation on boyhood, masculinity and innocence, all inspired by J. M. Barrie and the themes explored in the original work. It feels a bit disorientating at first because scenes move between action and moments of insight and each scene has a different stylistic approach to tell its core theme, though holistically they give an opportunity to learn about these Lost Boys and their pasts.
The creative use of space, lighting and movement feels refreshing, albeit somewhat challenging to accept as a theatregoer who may be more accustomed to a standard seating set-up. Directors Craig Baldwin and Eliza Scott do well with taking advantage of the entire performance space, which is bolstered by Ryan McDonald’s lighting and set design. Costumes by Esther Zhong are diverse and mimic the individual sequences well, going hand in hand with the musical moments on display.
However, once the novelty of the limitless performance space wears off, The Lost Boys simply doesn’t go deep enough for much of an impact. Its energetic approach overwhelms its affecting core message. Emotional climaxes come and go, and the show becomes boring just after halfway through its run time, even with a pleasant twist towards the end. A switch of certain scenes might have led to a more cohesive and emotional story, however it could also have benefitted from a bit more context at times and more thematic connections between scenes and the source material. It comes across as an experiment that needed some intervention earlier on, and the cast unfortunately loses steam in this exercise.
Despite its flaws, Little Eggs Collective does something unexpected within the Reginald Theatre. It develops an innovative way to appreciate performance and working in spaces that many feel restrictive or frankly boring. Even if The Lost Boys misses its emotional mark, it soars as an unusual and refreshing experience that will last with many past its curtain call.