The problem with Peter Pan, I’ve always thought, is that should you consider the themes a little too closely then the Christmas favourite is, well, rather a gruesome tale.

There’s a number of nasty endings for several of the characters, and not just the chap with the hook who gets swallowed by that oversized crocodile.

Quite a few of his crew, the native American braves, and the odd fairy meet a sudden demise also.

Add in a few grisly attempts to bump off Neverland citizens – poison, drowning, shot by arrow, death by mermaid – and considering the whole plot is built on incidents of child abduction, and it’s a miracle J. M. Barrie’s tale of the boy who never grew up ever gets staged in these politically correct times.

Thank goodness it does, however, as this version from the Chichester Festival Youth Theatre is a hoot.

Clambering over an imaginative set, where a huge bed acts as Lost Boys’ secret den, mermaid’s rock, home of the braves and even pirate galleon, comes the huge cast for this loud, lively, funny performance.

The numbers who are available to take part in what is after all any child’s idea of a glorious adventure, makes for a stage-filling extravaganza where the fight scenes are chaotic, the musical numbers roof-raising, and the action fast-paced.

The availability of so much talent enables characters to be revolved, and on the night we travelled to Neverland Freddie Hill played a wonderfully exuberant yet thoughtful Pan, eschewing the traditional green leggings and cap for a more modern camouflage-pattern shirt and shorts.

Amy Norman was Wendy, the girl for whom the original house was built in her name, and Alexander Hughes a suitably roguish Captain Hook.

The musical numbers are well choreographed and if anything it was a shame that the performance didn’t include a few more.

Of course, no one really gets hurt in Neverland, and even the nasty old crock is suitably amusing.

This performance is the first from new Festival artistic team Daniel Evans (artistic director) and Rachel Tackley (executive director) and bodes well for the 2017 season.

Runs until December 31.

Ian Murray