National Theatre’s ‘Finding Neverland’ Captivates with Illusions, Children’s Inspiration

Josiah Smothers, Jeff Sullivan, Ruby Gibbs and Paul Schoeller in Finding Neverland. Photo credit: Jeremy Daniel

Finding Neverland is a delightful romp through an active and unstifled imagination.

Audiences can expect the fictional story of Wendy, Peter, Tinkerbell and the Lost Boys to be performed at another theatre in DC next season, but what they’re getting on stage at the National Theatre right now is the real story: the story of how a human boy named Peter became the inspiration for Peter Pan.

This uncannily real story is based on playwright J.M. Barrie and the family that inspired his classic Peter Pan.  It has all the feels — for the young and the young at heart in the audience — and even features a lovable pup that

The Company of Finding Neverland. Photo credit: Jeremy Daniel

steals the show whenever he’s in the scene.

Jeff Sullivan (Barrie) and Ruby Gibbs (Sylvia Lewelyn Davies) captivate with their talents, performing a rather athletic show seemingly with ease. The young actors, including Ashburn’s own Josiah Smothers (Jack/Michael), are remarkably accomplished… and offer in the play its abundance of childlike wonder.

The Company of Finding Neverland. Photo credit: Jeremy Daniel

Of course there’s pixie dust (Paul Kieve’s illusions are glorious), but the staging and choreography are truly what make the show dazzle.  In particular, the “Circus of Your Mind” musical number wraps the audience in a phantasma that will delight even the stodgiest in their seats.

The story is sweet but the way it’s seen and shared is the splendor. May we all find a little Neverland in our lives.

Recommended for ages 7+. Run time: Approximately 2 hours and 25 minutes, including one intermission.  Performances run through March 3rd.  Tickets available here.

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