sun 26/01/2020

The Boy James, Southwark Playhouse | reviews, news & interviews

The Boy James, Southwark Playhouse

The Boy James, Southwark Playhouse

An evocative staging of JM Barrie’s loss of youth fails to take wing

Verbose Pan: Jethro Compton as the Boy in ‘The Boy James’Nicholas Coupe

We remember JM Barrie as the creator of Peter Pan, that quintessentially English fairy story which features Neverland, the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, and where “to die would be an awfully big adventure”. Generations have embraced this mythical tale as an expression of the spirit of upper-class Deep England. Here the Victorians are us. But James Matthew Barrie himself was the child of a Scottish Calvinist working-class family, and is the subject of Alexander Wright’s play — a hit in Edinburgh last year — which aspires to be a kind of anti-myth.

Wright’s play is painfully fay and verbose, and by the end of the show I’d had my fill of “dreams pinned on butterflies”

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