Saturday night we strolled over to the Dock Street Theatre to see The Original Peter Pan, produced by Charleston Stage. Keeping very close to J.M. Barrie’s novel, The Original Peter Pan was a fun and funny evening of theatre with some touching moments.
People sometimes mistake “children’s theatre” as little kids dressed up in contrived costumes putting on a school play. This was much more. The Original Peter Pan had every child spellbound, but it was fun for the grown ups too.
They fly. Who doesn’t want to fly? Cable wires hoisted the cast high into the air, a little awkwardly at times. Considering it was the last weekend of the run, I thought they’d be more adept at it, but it does look challenging.
Hook. Kyle Barnette reprises a role he’s filled several times before. This Hook was a preening, prancing one, alternately fearsome and cowardly, sending his crew to deal with his dirty work. When not sword fighting or sending people to walk the plank, The Captain sauntered about the stage, polishing his hook and fluffing his hair. Priceless and hysterical.
Peter. “I just want to be a little boy and to have fun,” the petulant Pan says repeatedly. He is stubborn, whiney and quick to anger, but also quick to be jovial and lighthearted. Seriously, Peter might have been bipolar. Jordan Ellis did a great job of keeping the audience, especially the children, engaged.
The Tear Jerker Moment. When the sassy and loyal Tinkerbell drinks the poison Hook poured into Peter’s medicine, which Wendy has made him promise to take, Peter appeals to the audience for help to heal her. “If every child believes in fairies, she can get better. Do you believe in fairies?” Every single child in the theatre cried out YES! They didn’t miss a beat. It was the sweetest thing.
Clever Staging. Tinkerbell was a sparkle green light, just the right shade, and tinkling music served for her voice. The crocodile was a fascinating contraption on wheels and Lee Hollis Bussie gave the tick-tocking, crotchety old croc a lot of personality. The Nursery set had some very clever rigging, from the drawer that Tink gets trapped in to the little wings where flying wires could be attached.
The Original Peter Pan was the last show of the 2010-2011 season of Charleston Stage, but never fear. The already have an exciting line up for next season. The Piggly Wiggly Family Series will be The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day and The Wiz. Check the full lineup and buy your season tickets now at www.charlestonstage.com.