SHERMAN Cymru has delivered a wide variety of exciting and imaginative Christmas shows over the years and this year is no exception, with the company’s presentation of JM Barrie’s classic tale Peter Pan.
Cardiff-based writer Rob Evans, 34, who has previously adapted Kes, Caged and Kappa for the Catherine Wheels Company, has re-imagined JM Barrie’s book for the stage. Iask how he approaches adapting such a classic.
“I start by getting a feel for the text,” he tells me, “I read the book once and write down what touched me emotionally.”
Rob has his own love of the story, having seen a production when he was seven, in Cardiff.
“JM Barrie’s writing is so visual,” he says enthusiastically, “and there are lots of magic moments and characters to include, such as Tinkerbell, The Lost Boys and Captain Hook. There were elements I had to get rid of, such as Hook and the little poison bottle, but I’ve kept the story to the core and it’s still very exciting!”
Set on Christmas Eve, Peter Pan tells the story ofWendy who, with no mum and no money, is trying desperately to make it the best Christmas possible for her dad and two brothers.
As the cold reality of her situation dawns, a mysterious rebel appears at Wendy’s window and whisks her on a magical journey of danger and adventure in a world far away.
The story might be 108 years old, but Rob feels Wendy’s character is particularly still very relevant.
“Wendy’s own story gets lost,” he says, “so I wanted to portray the story from her viewpoint. Wendy growing up in a world that’s pretty hard.”
Rob worked with fellow playwright Dafydd James, writer of the acclaimed Llwyth (Tribe) to produce Peter Pan.
The pair sat together in a basement for week, writing and composing the eight songs featured in the production.
Rob is used to delivering quality scripts to tight deadlines. He is also collaborating with the National Theatre of Scotland on a production called Ignition, examining Shetland’s relationship with the car.
I ask if as a writer, he has to approach theatre companies to work on productions. “They come and ask me, which is really good,” he says, “It allows me to go in with an open mind.”
Judging by Rob’s revisualisation of Peter Pan andWendy’s story, there couldn’t be a better approach.
● Peter Pan continues at Sherman Cymru until January 5 and is suitable for ages 7+. Performance times vary. For tickets and details, contact Sherman Cymru on 029 2064 6900 or visit sher mancymru.co.uk