READERS may recall an article from the Mid-Devon Advertiser in  July 2022 in which Ipplepen Amateur Dramatic Society were appealing for more help with its productions. 

Fortunately that help was forthcoming in the shape of Hayley Carpenter (director) and Jo Wildgoose (producer) who, with some new faces, both young and more mature joined the society, were able to present an excellent production of Peter Pan by J M Barrie, and adapted by Tracy Rogers, that played to four consecutive full houses at Ipplepen Village Hall last month. 

Mature and faultless performances by Julie Jones as Peter and Chris Green as Captain Hook, together with an Abba musical theme, brought the story to life. And with the supporting cast all clearly enjoying themselves they soon had the audiences entering into the spirit of pantomime.

Julie Jones as Peter Pan.
Julie Jones as Peter Pan. (Photo by Barry Quick)

The story centres on the Darling family children, Wendy (Isobelle Sutheran), John (Charlotte Saunders) and Michael (Jacob Frendo) who are all seeking adventure. When Peter, looking for a mother figure for the Lost Boys, arrives in their bedroom along with Tinker Bell, a fairy, well portrayed by Anna Ellard and clearly at odds with her significant other for bring her to earth, they can’t wait to follow him to Neverland. 

Of course, they couldn’t go flying off without their Nana, a traditional panto dame, well played with good comedy value by Dave Wells.

In Neverland all sorts of adventures awaited them. 

There were pirates, Indians, mermaids and even a ticking crocodile (Robin Jones), sent to terrify Captain Hook, and most importantly, bags of comedy throughout. 

The ineptitude of the pirates was a joy to behold. Smee (Andy King) and Line and Sinker (Jax Page and Claire Baldock) were on pointe with all of their comic sketches as were the Lost Boys. The young mermaids under their leader Myrtle (Rose Darnley) held together a beautiful cameo with some very fishy comic lines and there was some drama provided by the Indians.

The cast of Peter Pan
The cast of Peter Pan (Photo by Barry Quick)

Chief Standing Bull and his wife Battle Axe were very convincingly played by husband and wife duo Paul and Terri Morrison albeit that keeping their wayward daughters Sioux and Cheyenne (Lucy Popham and Lou Fraser) under control proved to be a lost cause. 

Their other daughter, Tiger Lily (Katie Simmonds) was much more controlled except that she kept wandering off and getting captured by the pirates. As ever, the hero, Peter comes to the rescue by fooling the pirates into letting her go, defeats Captain Hook makes up with Tinker Bell and brings the story to a happy ending.

The principals were well supported by the Abbarettes and the junior singers and dancers, all under the musical direction and choreography of Lucy Popham and Julie Cotgrave. Set Manager Andy Carpenter along with Artistic Director Jerry Aplin provided quality scenes and lighting and sound was in the safe hands of Tony Cottle and Julie Babbage.

This Ipplepen Amateur Dramatic Society production of Peter Pan was presented by arrangement with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and Concord Theatricals Ltd. on behalf of Samuel French Ltd.