Peter Pan [Reimagined]
Photographs: Johan Perrson
Peter Pan [Reimagined] is a radical reworking of the J M Barrie play at Birmingham Rep theatre. The project took most of 2019 to design in collaboration with costume designer Laura Jane Stanfield and with director and co-writer Liam Steel. The set incorporated counterweight flying into a mostly naturalistic three-storey drab housing estate then transforming into a colourful recycled and upcycled Neverland fantasy.
Michael Pavelka’s sets are ambitious and impressive, framed around a three-storey block of flats, awash with colour.
Michael Pavelka’s fantastically dynamic multilevel, graffiti-daubed set allows for exhilarating bungee-assisted flying from walkways and stairwells. It transforms eye-poppingly into a lagoon in which gleaming, scrap-metal mermaids sport, a galleon is manned by punky biker pirates, and a Wendy house is built from discarded furniture and white goods.
There are countless productions of Peter Pan this Christmas but director and co-adapter – along with Georgia Christou – Liam Steel has a knack for bringing old shows bang up to date. His version of Peter Pan is set on a council estate in Birmingham, where Wendy takes care of her brothers. Will she discover how to be young again in Neverland? In another twist, Hook will be played by a woman (Nia Gwynne).
Michael Pavelka’s sets are ambitious and ingenious, soaring into the skies, below the waves, under the streets, into the home and aboard the ship. There’s a recurrent theme of grunginess to both the sets and Laura Jane Stanfield’s outlandish costumes.