Veteran actress Dench, who played spy chief M in seven James Bond films, has reteamed with Whishaw, who made his debut as gadget master Q in last year's (12) Skyfall, for new play Peter and Alice, based on the real life characters who inspired Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan.
The production, which was penned by Skyfall screenwriter John Logan, opened in London on Monday night (25Mar13) and won glowing reviews in the British media for its two stars, with Michael Billington of The Guardian writing, "Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw were last professionally united as M and Q in Skyfall. They now come together again to play the real-life inspirations for Lewis Carroll's Alice and JM Barrie's Peter Pan. Watching them interact is a genuine, civilised joy."
Charles Spencer of the Daily Telegraph hails the production as a "beautiful and searching play that will live long in the memory," adding, "If you had to imagine a work that was the complete antithesis of the brilliant Bond blockbuster, Skyfall, it might resemble Peter and Alice, a moving, 90-minute theatrical chamber piece about childhood, growing up and the pressure of literary immortality."
The Times' Libby Purves gives the play five stars and brands the production "breathtaking" and "shattering in its intensity", adding that Dench is "unmatchable".