Alexandra Spencer-Jones on her new musical, The Lost Boy Peter Pan
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This week we interviewed Alexandra Spencer-Jones, the director and adaptor of the new theatre show, The Lost Boy Peter Pan. This festive family musical is a reimagining of the classic J.M. Barrie tale, featuring live music performances. Here's what she had to say about the show:
1. The Lost Boy Peter Pan is quite a change from your last adaption, A Clockwork Orange. What made you go from dystopian to fairy tale?
They're both stories about people with their own agenda. Both Peter and Alex have strong ideologies, both of them will do what they need to do at the expense of other people. I made A Clockwork Orange when I was 23 and it was about rebellion and a new world order. As I turned 30 I came back to J M Barrie and what it meant to really grow up. I guess I chose both pieces because of where I was in my own life at the time. Both of these pieces are incredibly time resistant and always relevant.
2. The most famous adaption of Peter Pan is of course the 1953 Disney movie. Did this, or any other adaptations, help inspire your own?
Who couldn't be inspired by Hook - what a total masterpiece with seminal performances from both Dustin Hoffman and the brilliant late Robin Williams. I was also very emotionally affected by Jeremy Sumpter's performance of Peter in the 2003 film. I'm a massive fan of the TV series Once Upon A Time which also enjoys twisting fairy stories and offers a fantastic reworking of the role of Captain Hook (Colin O'Donoghue). I'm an avid Disney fan but oddly the Disney film wasn't a favourite of mine growing up.
3. How did you choose the music for the play?
I selected songs based on freedom, what it is to be young and magic itself. I've also composed a set of songs for the piece as well. I've also mashed songs thematically together and created a soundscape for the show with my incredible cast of actor-musicians.
4. Pleasance describes it as a “perfect alternative to pantomime”. Why do you think the public will prefer this play to a traditional pantomime and how does it differ?
There is little interaction with the audience but rather an opportunity to really lose yourself in the mythology and world of the piece.
5. Will there be a lot of special effects?
There's some magic but mostly we use music to create atmosphere and effects.
6. What are you hoping the audience will take away from this production?
I hope that the audience will take away a little slice of Peter himself. However young or old we are - we always need Peter Pan, the absolute emblem of what it is to be young.
The Lost Boy Peter Pan – presented by Action to the Word in association with Glynis Henderson Productions – will run at Pleasance Theatre from 29 November – 7 January 2018.