Review: Finding Neverland on Broadway

The story of how Peter became Pan

It’s a magical new musical that takes children and adults on a journey to Neverland with the story of how Peter became Pan. And now, with music under the wings of Take That frontman Gary Barlow; alongside Eliot Kennedy, new musical Finding Neverland has taken off on Broadway.

Based on the life events that influenced author J. M. Barrie to write his now infamous fairytale, Finding Neverland; the show hits the spot, most of the time.

Directed by Diane Paulus, with Harvey Weinstein as chief producer, you’re able to understand the magical world of Peter Pan just a little greater; but you’re still left somewhat empty inside by close. The show takes audiences around this magic world, but sadly only dips its foot into a magical story that you so desperately want to visit. It’s an almost teasing like situation between an adult, a child and a bowl full of sweets; the child can look, but not touch. However, this does anything but take away from a show that is lead by three giants of performance.

Finding Neverland on Broadway

As the author himself, former Glee star Matthew Morrison (J.M. Barrie) charms, exhilarates and drags you into this world of pure fantasy. Blessed with a fine vocal talent, his energy moves through his supporting cast and is matched by all to perfection. It’s great to see such a delightful performance from an actor that we’ve all known so well from TV, most recently.

He’s joined by mother of doting children, and widow, Laura Michelle Kelly (Sylvia Llewelyn Davies). English born, this former magical Disney actress, whose spent most of her time recently stateside, has a flare and honesty that some could only dream. Matching Morrison in divine vocal ability, her levelheaded approach to tackling a man that joins her families life unexpectedly and sturs a change in her, is a enjoy. She’s also intertwined in Barlow’s musical score of gems; including possibly the standout number, All That Matters; receiving the loudest applause of the evening from this full Broadway crowd.

Set inside a scene design that is somewhat less pleasing at times, magic is never too far away. Although in small doses, clever lighting and costume design delights children throughout as the find themselves desperately holding onto the possibly that Neverland really could be just around the corner.

Also, in a rather bizarre twist of English to American exchange, Take That frontman Gary Barlow’s music whips this musical into shape in a pleasant manner. In a world that is wanting for so much, and almost delivers on many occasions, his talents are able to add the little sprinkling of fantasy that you’re still, even two hours in, waiting for. It’s also a pleasure to his skill as a ballad writer used on many occasions throughout; most noticeably with Kelly and Morrison.

Alongside the shows fine leading actors, joins stage, screen and television icon Kelsey Grammer as Captain James Hook / Charles Frohman. Mixing good with evil, and a little touch of evil Hook, Grammer finds himself in a magical work where he can almost only ever see bad. However, for an accomplished actor like him, his experience powers above most and, regardless of his characters choices, you’re behind him until curtain call.

They’re joined by Carolee Carmello and Teal Wicks and Mrs du Maurier and Mary Barrie, respectively.

Although a little less magical than all our imaginations could hope to be, Finding Neverland is brave in its intentions. Finding a new generation of fans, with the help of a multi-award winning creative team and cast, audiences can bathe in the glory that is this old tale told in a new way.

Take your children to the second star, on the right, straight ahead to Neverland and fly into the arms of this new piece of theatre in New York.

Ticket information for Finding Neverland on Broadway can be ound here.

GT gives Finding Neverland on Broadway – 4/5

 

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