Watching Peter Pan – an awfully big adventure

Posted on October 21, 2010

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The story of Peter Pan truly resonates in our household – perhaps it is because, like Peter, we all feel like we don’t want to grow up (and yes, I don’t mean just my kids but my husband and I as well.) Last summer I read J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan to my boys and later, my older son and I took turns reading “Peter and the Starcatchers” by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. We are all familiar with JM Barrie’s story about the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, his adventures with the Darling Kids in Never Land and of course, his nemesis Captain Hook. Well, Peter and the Starcatchers is sort of a prequel to the Pan stories and then some. In it, Peter is an orphan boy who goes adventuring aboard a ship called Never Land. It is a captivating story which offers possible explanations for many of the iconic characters and settings in the original Barrie play and novel.

So you can imagine our excitement when we found out we were going to be among the first to watch Threesixty’ Entertainment’s Peter Pan at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

Above. There are now 4 books in the Peter and the Starcatchers Series.

Above. Clever use of CGI and wire work take us all on a flight to Never Land. (Photo courtesty of ocpac)

It’s billed as a theatrical adventure – and that indeed it is! Peter Pan manages to use technology to enhance the already-good-yet-all-too-familiar story of the Lost Boys. (After all we’ve seen it on screen, on stage and on tv so many times.) And that’s what makes this version special as it succeeds in giving the story a fresh new look that had children of all ages enthralled — by using CGI flight simulations and video projections. During the flight scenes, it felt like being on a virtual ride, it was more Space Mountain than Cirque du Soleil.

I also liked the use of puppets – crudely fashioned of out of ordinary objects like rags, footballs and clothes’ hangers — as if to contrast the other high-tech gadgetry of the show.

One of the funnest characters was Tinkerbell, who was nothing like the Disney-version. She was a pixie – mischievous and magical, dirty like a Lost Boy and insanely jealous of Wendy with an accent that reminded me of Bjork. Not cutesy at all, in fact, she’s a bit foul-mouthed. (Most of the bad words fly over the heads of young children, however, as the story and action are what keep them mesmerized more than dialogue).

Captain Hook was delightful to watch. Peter was charming and the darling kids, well, darling.

It was a great experience that I was lucky enough to share with my family. The show runs through January 2nd, 2011. For more information visit www.peterpantheshow.com and www.ocpac.org

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