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The Lost Boys

The Lost Boys
Devisor: Little Eggs Collective
Directors: Craig Baldwin, Elizabeth Scott
Seymour Theatre
November 10 – December 1, 2023

Taking inspiration from the concept of the Lost Boys, Peter Pan’s companions, the Little Eggs Collective has devised a mesmerising hour-long performance of soundscape, movement and spoken word exploring the volatile emotional “innerscape” of the modern pre-teen.

Having escaped through a nursery window as a baby, Peter Pan returns home to find the window shut and his mother nursing another infant. Peter’s distrust of mothers is profound, and his companions in Neverland are a troupe of Lost Boys made up of babies who have fallen from their prams. Peter, who appears at the close of The Lost Boys, is a likable mixture of boastfulness and innocence, and possibly not a good role model for his boys, who it seems he heartlessly exiles – movingly enacted by the ensemble cast – once they begin the process of growing up.

The modern pre-teen Neverland is a volatile world to inhabit, a half-way place between the balloon of childhood and a slow let-down as the subjective self encounters an objective world – a process explained in parable form by a charming Door-Fairy. Balloons float upwards above the audience’s head to remain there as a reminder that we retain the memory of the subjective world against which reality will inevitably fall short.

We are first introduced to the ensemble as they arrive one by one to move in introverted and hypnotising fashion to a heavy beat. The mother figure is evoked in memory by a sweetly smiling child who nevertheless recognises her as a conditional giver for whom the child’s growing up implies separateness. With this Reginald Theatre vanishes, the venue opens up and we are plunged into the wildly fluctuating free-for-all world of boys on the loose and on the edge of loss. As they test each other physically and strenuously, as they feel alone and melancholy, as they feel the fierce desire to belong and as they rejoice in their youth, we toss and turn free to move about an unstructured space and not anchored to a seat.

The ensemble is remarkably disciplined in their structured group performances and again able to give the impression of freely chosen movement as they wrestle or pile in a heap. Individual boys perform through spoken word or songs – a twin for instance emerges from the pack to reflect on his unique relationship with his brother, a tiger-hearted boy discourses aggressively on his pride in being “new” while a more reflective soul considers the pleasures of being “empty” – to illustrate that while “a crew” they have their own emerging identities.

Their emotional states are effectively represented by the stage settings. We are sometimes beneath an archetypal sea with monster and mermaid, and at another in an urban alley with graffiti or again climbing up ladders on a ship, but we are always in motion. Restful moments imply a sudden movement, and tumult implies cessation. For such a short time, we take a long journey reminded at times of the savagery of Lord of the Flies but again at others of Exupery’s little prince.

Well-deserved congratulations to the ensemble cast, Samuel Beazley, Adriane Daff, Emma Harrison, Romain Hassanin, Julia Robertson, Eliza Scott, Anusha Thomas, for giving such liberating insight into the wild and unpredictable pre-teen world. Their rendition of “I dreamed a dream the other night/ Lowlands, lowlands, away me, John”, which matches precise slow group movement with the desolation conveyed through the words of the song, made an indelible impression.

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