‘Peter Pan’ is a worthy production
Special to Prospector
“Peter Pan” is a classic work that every child should see at least once–not as an animated version nor a movie, but live on stage. Sierra Stages’ current production of “Peter Pan” will delight children with its various fantasy characters, its action and, especially, Peter flying through the air. Most adults will be amused with these same things.
This particular version of “Peter Pan” is based on the original J.M. Barrie play, “Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up,” which premiered in London in 1904–so don’t expect to hear Peter singing “I Won’t Grow Up” ala Mary Martin in the 1954 musical film adaptation. But the story is the same: the boy who doesn’t want to grow up and assume adult responsibility; his adventures with Captain Hook, the pirates, Tinkerbell and the other denizens of Neverland; and his relationship with Wendy Darling as the pretend mother to his group of Lost Boys. The story is charming whether you are seven or 70.
Starring as Peter Pan, Conor Nolan brings an appealing, impish quality to his character. He seems very relaxed as he whooshes to and fro above the stage–it actually looks like fun, although I was told that when Flying by Foy (who also flew Mary Martin) first set up the harnesses, it took a lot to get adjusted. Kelly Taylor’s sweet Wendy Darling has the right amount of inquisitiveness, yet gentleness. And Brandon Johnson as Captain Hook (and also as Mr. Darling) highlights the comedy and bombast of his two characters, eliciting laughs from the youngsters in the audience. Tinkerbell is a clever flashing laser light, dancing around the stage and operated from offstage by Emily Rice. Kim Wellman is fun in performances as both Mrs. Darling and Smee, Hook’s pirate assistant. There are many other cast members who work very hard to create the magic of Neverland.
Director Jac Royce empowers her actors to illuminate the joys and fears of childhood, while keeping everything flowing, lighthearted and fun. The wonderful set, designed by Mike Edwards, is particularly functional, with moving pieces used to create multiple locales–it is impressive how quickly and easily the actors and crew readjust the pieces between scenes. Jill Kelly’s costumes are creative and well-suited to each character.
This play is definitely one to take your kids or grandkids to see. While not as polished as it might become with repeated performances, youngsters will appreciate all of the magical characters (they will especially love the nursemaid dog Nana and the ticking crocodile), and adults will smile at the memories from their own childhood that the story invokes. “Peter Pan” continues at the Nevada Theatre through Aug. 2nd.
Hindi Greenberg was always contrary to Peter Pan–she couldn’t wait to grow up. And now that she has, she often continues to act like a wild child. But, unfortunately, she can’t fly.
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