Belt Up’s The Boy James

THEATRE
*****
Belt Up’s The Boy James
C Soco

Enter a child’s special, secret, reserved attic playroom.  Sit on one of his chairs or cushions, talk with a friend there, play games with him…but wait –there is a man…a man who drinks. Who has the same name.

Enjoy this delightful world while you can, though, for things soon darken,  and the desperate attempt to retain innocence, to continue the games and adventures, is inevitably doomed, and a world of change, trauma and loss suddenly arrives. This drama is inspired by the life of J M  Barrie, he of Peter Pan fame. Rarely is the deep intensity of the desire to avoid change, to stop the clock, conveyed so thoroughly and so heartbreakingly in theatre. After the playful interaction with the boy James, you feel part of his fierce fight to hold on to what he has – or had. (I read once of butch, moustachioed early 20th century soldiers watching Peter Pan with tears rolling down their cheeks.)

The impersonation of the boy James by Jethro  Compton is appropriate to an almost uncanny degree, and you believe in him implicitly. Lucy Fawcett as the girl who has clearly had her heart slain is flawless. Dan Wood conveys the man James with complete conviction.

This is one to see if you want something unlike anything you have ever seen, which will take you into its own special world and which will not leave you unchanged. Enter the child’s playroom for the most grown-up of dramas.