An ENTERTAINING reflection on the time to set aside childish things, youth collective Junction 25, an ensemble attached to the Tramway, pitch their hopes, dreams and illusions against the realities of growing up in this hugely impressive hour.Despite the tender ages of the 20-strong cast, ranging from 11 to 18, it’s rarely a sugar-coated confrontation.
Perched high above the stage, Jess Wood recalls Peter Pan as she struggles to relinquish her desire to fly, despite the weary protestations of her friends. Some of the darkness of J.M. Barrie’s tale lingers throughout, from Figment’s perfunctory, even brutal dismissal of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy – young Ethan Brodie is very funny here, routinely caught mid-gawp with each successive scale falling from his eyes – to a more unsettling, believable episode of modern peer pressure, with a conniving girl manipulating another towards sharing her sexual experiences. Gender roles are playfully tested as the boys’ battles with Star Wars and Lord of the Rings figures are perpetually disrupted by appearances from Ariel, the Little Mermaid, short scenes played out with exquisite comic timing. Elsewhere, one girl is cruelly but marvellously disabused of her endless fears by literally being shut up. Successfully treading a fine line between cosy, pyjama-sporting nostalgia and mischievous, cynical humour, it’s endearing that the play doesn’t fully dismiss children’s precious capacity for imagination and wonder with its touching ending.