Underneath a Magical Moon: York Theatre Royal

HERE'S a fresh take from children's theatre company tutti frutti of the familiar Peter Pan story as told by Mike Kenny, whose adaptation of The Railway Children gave co-producers York Theatre Royal – where Underneath a Magical Moon premieres – one of its biggest successes.

The JM Barrie spin-off proves a glorious, riotous and tuneful hour's entertainment, aided greatly by Wendy Harris's inventive direction, a versatile cast (take a bow Grace Lancaster, Jack Brett and Chris Draper), Kate Bunce's adaptable setting and composer Ivan Stott's jolly songs. The young audience sat entranced as Wendy took charge ("It's my house, I make the rules") and told the tale of the boy who wouldn't grow up. All the elements from the Peter Pan story are present and correct – flying, Captain Hook, pirates, the clockodile (the hand-munching crocodile who's swallowed a clock), Tinkerbell and scene-stealing mermaids, who have the best song.

As you'd expect from Kenny, serious issues touching on children's lives are part of the story without big flashing signs announcing their presence. Naughty Tinkerbell is cast as a "mean girl", the bully who sits at the back of the school bus doing her nails, while the role of mothers and the importance of family are touched on too.

One of the ways tutti frutti invites feedback is to send in a drawing – pass me the crayons so I can draw a picture of a happy smiling critic.

* Runs until Saturday, October 22. Box Office: 01904-623568 and yorktheatreroyal.co.uk and then touring until December.

Steve Pratt