Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure

track listing
1.) Theres Something In The Air Tonight
2.) Just Beyond The Stars
3.) Tinkerbell & Peter Pans Arrival
4.) Never Land
5.) The Lost Boys Gang
6.) Good Old Captain Hook
7.) Build A House
8.) The Cleverness Of Me
9.) Crocodile/Tiger Lily/Siren Song
10.) When I Kill Peter Pan
11.) Look Back Through A Rose-Tinted Eyepatch
12.) Just Beyond the Stars (reprise)
13.) One Big Adventure
14.) The Cleverness Of Me (reprise)
15.) When I Kill Peter Pan/Good Old Captain Hook (reprise)
16.) One Big Adventure (reprise)
17.) A Pirate With A Conscience
18.) Never Land (reprise)
19.) The Fight
20.) Just Beyond The Stars (reprise 2)
21.) Theres Always Tomorrow
Following the release of A Spoonful of Stiles and Drewe in December 2008, which featured songs spanning the entire twenty-five years that George Stiles and Anthony Drewe have been writing musicals together, 2009 brings us the soundtrack of their magical Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure.

Based upon the eponymous J. M. Barrie novel, the musical, with book by Willis Hall, was produced at Birmingham Repertory Theatre from November 2007 to January 2008 and at the West Yorkshire Playhouse over the Christmas period a year later. This recording was made at the latter venue on 19 and 20 January 2009.

The charm of the musical lay in its ability to generate a real sense of magic and wonder, and this CD also succeeds in doing so to a remarkably similar degree.

This is by virtue of the wonderful textures prevalent in the songs, which make the experience of listening to them feel almost as multi-faceted as that of attending the theatre and witnessing the entire drama in the flesh.
So as soon as the first song, Theres Something in the Air Tonight, strikes up, the music creates a real sense of foreboding. The lyrics then contribute to this subtle sense of disquiet, talking about the weather not seeming right for the time of year, or mentioning that nightingales are silent. In other words, the signs that something is amiss are not glaringly obvious, but they are still too clear to be ignored.

We then remain hooked as throughout the magical journey we are exposed to clever variations in mood. We revel in The Lost Boys Gang and indulge in the swashbuckling Good Old Captain Hook before suddenly being pricked by the sweet Build a House, a move that is vital to helping the injured Wendy.

Good use is also made of reprising songs so that we feel the obsession of Captain Hook (a splendid Daniel Birrell) as he sings When I Kill Peter Pan once more, whilst a sense of wonder is maintained by multiple reprises of Just Beyond The Stars, sung at different points by Kirsty Hoiles, Amy Lennox and Alwyne Taylor.

The cast is excellent, but from amongst them James Gillans Peter Pan stands out as he leads such songs as The Cleverness of Me and Theres Always Tomorrow. The recording is also aided by an orchestra, directed by Stephen Ridley, that is suitably strong where it needs to be but retains a certain subtlety that means the music never sounds overblown.

Of course, whether you wish to purchase this recording rather depends upon whether you like musicals geared towards (though not exclusively for) children. For that reason, it wont be to everyones taste, but within its genre its certainly a winner.

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