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Review: Adventures in Neverland at Central Park, Malvern East

Review by Mish Graham


 In a charming corner of Central Park, Malvern East, where the ordinary meets the extraordinary, the Melbourne Shakespeare Company unfolds a whimsical tale that transports audiences beyond the bounds of imagination. "Adventures in Neverland" invites theatregoers on a gallant journey through mystical forests and sparkling lagoons, guided by the spirited Emma and her trusty companion, Tink, the feisty fairy. This vibrant production promises an hour of fascination, brimming with catchy tunes, larger-than-life characters, and interactive moments that ensure fun for the entire family.


Underneath the ever changing Melbourne sky, the audience is whisked away on an exhilarating escapade, as Emma and Tink embark on their quest to outsmart the disreputable Captain Hand and his bumbling band of pirates. From the very first note, the air is alive with the melodies of adventure, courtesy of the Melbourne Shakespeare Company's cute and catchy musical arrangements. Each tune serves as a stepping stone, guiding viewers deeper into the heart of Neverland, where imagination reigns supreme.

Central to the production's success is the stellar ensemble cast, who breathe life into an array of colourful characters. Emma, played Cassidy Dunn, embodies the spirit of curiosity and bravery, capturing the hearts of audiences young and old alike. Alongside her, Tink flits and flutters with boundless energy, her mischievous antics adding a touch of whimsy to every scene.

As adversaries go, Captain Hand and his loveable sidekick Smee provide no shortage of laughter, stumbling and fumbling their way through the family picnic crowd with comic precision. 

What truly sets "Adventures in Neverland" apart, however, is its commitment to audience engagement. From sing-along choruses to interactive moments that invite viewers to join in the action, the production fosters a sense of camaraderie that transcends the boundaries between stage and seating. Children are encouraged to shout warnings to the heroes, while parents find themselves swept up and equally entertained by their surroundings, transported back to a time when wonder knew no bounds.

I attended with one of my young Deaf clients and as we arrived, I found staff to be both friendly and welcoming. The environment was inclusive and accessible which is essential to any great arts experience. Although we were not attended an Auslan interpreted session, the  performers high energy, expansive gesture, great physicality and helpful visuals and with all this in place, I was able to fill in the plot gaps so my client felt well informed on the narrative throughout the show. 

Accessibility in theatre can never be perfect but when we work together and gain awareness needed for this provision we see that it is far better to arrange for you can do over nothing at all. Which is what I saw on display from the Melbourne Shakespeare company.

As the applause rings out, it's clear that "Adventures in Neverland" has left an indelible mark on all who have had the pleasure of experiencing it. With its infectious energy, memorable melodies, and boundless sense of imagination, the production serves as a poignant reminder of the power of storytelling to unite and inspire. In the heart of Malvern East, a world of wonder awaits - and for those who dare to dream, anything is possible.


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