Thursday, January 2, 2020

PETER  PAN AND WENDY

The best reviews of Peter Pan and Wendy at the Shakespeare Theatre Company are not in the media but in the minds of the children.  Their squeals of delight and amazement are clear that this is one fantastic show.    I doubt that any of the under five year old set seated around me understood the meaning of the words or the social issues this updated version of a complicated classic  re-presents. But they will remember the magic of live theater.   
This up-dated Peter Pan, is a show as much for adults as for kids and not because it is a nostalgic (or not) reworking of a second childhood experience when we first encountered Peter, Wendy, the Lost Boys of Never Never Land, Captain Hook, Tiger Lily and Tinkerbell, and the beloved Nana.  
For this Peter Pan is not a re-setting of the story in a modern scenery with clothes to match (and in this one some wear clothes are appropriate  J. M.  Barrie’s time period) but rather that as the characters are addressing modern ideas, they share human experiences and emotions that are not limited to any one age group or century.  
Lauren Gunderson is the brilliant adapter of the oft retold Peter Pan story and Alan Paul, the director of this sparkling production. Justin Mark is Peter Pan, Isabella Star LaBlanc is Tiger Lily, and Sinclair Daniel  is Wendy Darling.  Jenni Barber is both Mrs. Darling and Tinkerbell and Derek Smith, Mr. Darling and Captain Hook.  All the boys are great but there are a few behind the stage designers whose work is indispensable for the fun  Puppet designer James Ortiz for his great crocodile that swallowed the clock, flying choreographer Paul Rubin and fight choreographer David Leong and for Special Effects Jeremy Chernick.  And of course, William Berlonni, Animal Trainer for Nana and the Whole Shadow Animation team who brought us Peter Pan’s Shadow.  
At the Shakespeare Theatre Company until Jan. 12, 2020.