The classic story and play of the boy who will not grow up starts when
Mr and Mrs Darling go out for the evening. They are sure their family is
safe. Nana is there and though she is a dog she has always taken good
care of the children. But tonight Nana is tied up. She knows something
will happen, because there is magic in the air, and Nana, as always, is
Peter Pan is on his way from Neverland. He flies straight into the
children’s bedroom. He has lost his shadow, and wants Wendy, the
eldest of Mr and Mrs Darling’s children to fix it for him, which she does
with a needle and thread.
Then they are all off back to Neverland. To enable them to fly, Wendy
and her two brothers need plenty of help from Tinkerbell, a fairy with
her own problems. Not only are all fairies under threat because when
someone says they don’t believe in fairies, they drop down dead, but
Tinkerbell has an ownership problem about Peter. He’s hers, not
Wendy’s, and it is only after considerable persuasion does she agree to
help at all.
Wendy meets the Lost Boys, the Red Indians, and the Mermaids. There
are plenty of adventures to be had in Neverland, including the rescue of
Tiger Lily, bringing Tinkerbell back to life by clapping for her and the
defeat of that most evil of villains, Captain Hook and his gang of pirates.
Peter still does not want to grow up. He has distant memories of his
mother but when he went to see her, another boy had taken his place.
Wendy and her brothers think differently. They feel homesick for their
parents and Nana, and with the mixed sadness of all departures the do
at last return, to a loving and welcoming family reunion.
The story doesn’t completely end there. Peter Pan comes back for visits,
but as Wendy grows up and has a family of her own, life changes for her.
The final end has the poignancy of times lost to it.
Nevertheless, J.M Barrie’s storytelling is imbued with idiosyncratic
warmth and humour. He wrote many other popular plays and books, but
it is for Peter Pan that he remains most famous today.