Thursday, 28 January 2016

Peter and Alice by John Logan

Peter and Alice
by John Logan

Summary: A remarkable new play from the acclaimed playwright (Red) and screenwriter (Gladiator, Skyfall) John Logan. Enchantment and reality collide at a 1932 meeting between Alice Liddell Hargreaves, the original Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Llewelyn Davies, the original Peter Pan. Peter and Alice, which opened on London's West End in March 2013, stars Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw. 
The thing about plays is, they're written to be performed. Because of that, sometimes simply reading them feels like it's lacking that spark that will really bring it to life. Like they're just words on a page until you get to hear them spilling out of the mouths of actors and see the looks on their faces as they say them and only then can the story become what it was truly meant to be.

But this one...this one wasn't like that at all. I mean, it would probably be spectacular on a whole other level to see it performed (and I'm gutted I didn't get to see it performed by Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw), but it felt just as beautiful and complete and wonderful to simply read it.

I love Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland, but I knew very little about the real lives of the children that inspired the authors to create those characters. This play changed that, but it's an odd one to talk about because it is a strange mix of the real and not real (much like the stories that made Alice and Peter famous).

It's a mix of imagined conversations, but real tragedies. Fictional characters and their real authors and the real people they were named for... but most of their words were from someone else's mind. And it's all done so well. But it's hard to explain how my heart broke for the real people and the bad things that happened to them in their lives...but it also ached from the beauty of John Logan's words and the versions of these people that he created.

I hadn't considered how being the muses behind two of the worlds most famous children's stories would've impacted their lives, in ways both good and bad, how it would've changed them and the way people saw them.

I'm probably making no sense at all. If you like plays, read this one. If you don't like plays, this one may change your mind. If you like Alice in Wonderland or Peter Pan, you'll love it. If you don't like either of those, read it anyway because it's excellent in its own right too... Basically, everyone should read this is what I'm trying to say (I've already harassed my best friends to add it to their reading lists too).

I'd rate it 5 stars out of 5.


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