Peter Pan

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Photograph: Brett Boardman
Peter Pan
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Photograph: Brett Boardman
Peter Pan
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Photograph: Brett Boardman
Peter Pan

Peter Pan.New Victory Theater (see Off Broadway). By J.M. Barrie. Adapted by Tommy Murphy. Directed by Ralph Myers. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 25mins. No intermission.

Peter Pan: In brief

One of Australia's leading theater companies, Belvoir returns to New York with Tommy Murphy's family-friendly adaptation of J.M. Barrie's adventure story, which plays out in a suburban child's bedroom in the 1980s. Troupe leader Ralph Myers directs.

Peter Pan: Theater review by Raven Snook

Erase those cheesy images of Cathy Rigby in green tights sailing overhead singing saccharine songs. This rollicking adaptation of J. M. Barrie’s play is a low-tech, lowbrow wonder. Joyously reconceived by Sydney, Australia’s Belvoir company (last represented on Broadway by Exit the King), this Peter Pan relies on the magical power of make-believe as Peter (Meyne Wyatt, absolutely strapping in gym shorts), Wendy (Geraldine Hakewill) and her brothers travel to Neverland and vanquish Captain Hook (Charlie Garber) without ever leaving the children’s 1980s-era bedroom. Flashlights become Tinkerbell, beds transform into ships, the Darlings “fly” on the knees of their reclining castmates and that ticking crocodile is conjured from—no, I won’t spoil that glorious visual for you.

The high-energy ensemble plays multiple cross-gender roles but carefully delineates each character so there’s never any confusion. The production is aimed at ages seven and up, and it certainly keeps kids in stitches, with fart noises, slapstick, liberal use of the insult silly ass, and Garber’s hilariously bewigged and broad villain. In a fantastic bit of double casting, he also plays their high-strung dad, proof that growing up isn’t something any kid wants to do. But it’s inevitable, and that’s the always-poignant moral of Peter Pan, one that can only truly be appreciated by the adults in the audience.—Theater review by Raven Snook

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