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The darkness of Captain Hook

PUBLISHED: 11:18 11 December 2009 | UPDATED: 09:32 12 August 2010

TAR PERFORMANCE: Jonathan Hyde as Hook (above) and Ciaron Kellgren as Peter Pan (left).

TAR PERFORMANCE: Jonathan Hyde as Hook (above) and Ciaron Kellgren as Peter Pan (left).

AN ACTOR says he will make Captain Hook even darker when the sell-out show comes to a 1,350 purpose-built pavilion over Christmas, writes Marina Soteriou. Peter Pan, which played to more than 150,000 in Kensington Gardens this summer, is now at the O2 in

AN ACTOR says he will make Captain Hook even darker when the sell-out show comes to a 1,350 purpose-built pavilion over Christmas, writes Marina Soteriou.

Peter Pan, which played to more than 150,000 in Kensington Gardens this summer, is now at the O2 in Greenwich for a six-week run.

It will be performed in a purpose-built pavilion, which will have increased capacity at the O2 to seat 1,350 people, with a 360degree projected scenic design.

Playing both Hook and Mr Darling is veteran actor Jonathan Hyde.

He told the Times: "Mr Darling is petulant and sets this whole disaster off and he ends up in the dog house as he lives in the kennel. People forget that is the phrase comes from.

"Hook is a psychopath and you could say he is damaged goods. He has been a product of the public school system - Eaton - which makes people Prime Ministers. This was in 1905 at the height of the Empire but with storm clouds on the horizons.

"I played Hook as a hysterical character who got himself in this terrible pickle.

"Although, I am darkening him down for these performances - a quieter, nastier person."

He claims the visual effects of the £5 million grossing show, does not dumb down the complex story of Peter Pan, adding "If anything they strengthen the story enormously.

"It is all a search for warmth and motherhood. What do people do when people lose their mothers? It features alienation, cruelty, survival and joy.

"Children are very quick. They really pick it up.

"There is a scene towards the end of the first part. There is a huge fight between the Lost Boys and the pirates and everybody on stage is dead and you can hear the children saying 'they are playing dead'."

With two performances on Christmas Eve and two on Boxing Day, he says Christmas Day will probably be spent sleeping. He said: "It is going to be hard work. I don't think Christmas will feature much."

Hyde himself lost his mother at a young age and was sent to boarding school until he was 17-years-old. He said: "My father was an old-school Edwardian, born in 1905.

"I was sent away to boarding school at the eight of eight and I came home when I was 17. And that was in Australia. The school was 1,200miles away from home. It was a good school - it wasn't Dickensian. I would come home every three months."

He moved to England in 1969 with a burning desire to see Europe and figure out what to do with his life. There was also the prospect of fighting in the Vietnam War if he remained. So he got a discharge by disclosing he had a perforated ear drum and claiming he had a personality disorder.

He said: "I had been conscripted and I had been in vociferous opposition to the war.

"Never kill people in their own country is my rule of thumb.

"It makes my blood boil thinking we have not learnt our lesson."

In England, he has had a long and fruitful career, working with the greats of screen and theatre including Derek Jarman and Ian McKellen.

He starred in director's Jarman's 1986 masterpiece Caravaggio, with Tilda Swinton.

"It was like being at a party. Derek was enormously bright, creative, very sociable and generous.

"He was groundbreaker, pushing and smashing down boundaries.

"Caravaggio was made for about £350,000 and went onto win the Silver Berlin Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. What an achievement."

Upcoming works includes a possible cameo in Finding Nemo director Andrew Stanton's new film, which is not an animation.

But his big ambition is to play King Lear. He has been in two productions - Michael Gambon's in 1981 and Trevor Nunn's in 2007, but has yet to be handed the titular role.

For more information on Peter Pan, visit www.visitlondon.com/peterpan or call 0844 847 2517.

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