This play begins in the nursery of the Darling Residence where the parents leave for the night after putting the kids to bed. Peter Pan soon enters the room in search of his shadow, which he had previously left behind. Between Wendy sewing his shadow back on, the grand introduction of Tinkerbell and her snide remarks, and the process of learning to fly with fairy dust, the first scene got the play started off on a high note which only went up from there. The flying team did a fantastic job lifting the energetic Zoey Reese, actress for Peter Pan, off the ground. She lifted our heart and our views.
From "the second star to the right and on 'till morning," we were introduced to the magical world of Neverland where you can experience spring, winter, summer, or fall all on the same island, depending on which part you go to. Here we soon meet the Pirates, the Indians, and the Lost Boys. Ultimately, the pirates kidnap the Lost Boys and the Indians and Pan are able to outwit the pirates and make the dreadful pirate Hook walk the plank! With this, Wendy returns back to Earth ready to grow up, accepting every good and bad consequence this brings.
There are 3 moments in this play I wish to discuss further because they were the scenes which truly made this play magical for everyone present.
Firstly, every dance of the Indians was completely, jaw-droppingly, spectacular. Specifically, the "Indian Dance" and "Ugh-A-Wug" dances were unlike any I've ever seen in a musical before. The "Indian Dance" was an outstanding display of athleticism with great themes such as a repeated shoulder shrug to suggest the beating of the drums as the beating of the heart. I can't get their leaps, jumps, spins, and circular formations out of my head because I wish I was one of them up on that stage! Then when they began to use walking sticks and drumsticks on the stage during "Ugh-A-Wug," I couldn't help but pulse my body with the fantastic rhythms created. For these outstanding creations, I personally applaud choreographers Courtney and Louis Giannini.
The next outstanding moment was Pan's hilarious piece "Oh, My Mysterious Lady." Here, Pan drapes himself in a cloak and tricks Hook into thinking he is a wonderful lady because of his lovely singing. This trick kept the audience laughing for minutes on end. Moments like this, more than anything else, helped drive home Pan's personality and why he wants to cling onto his youth with all he has. In the coming scenes when Pan lets all his friends leave him because he refuses to leave Neverland, it makes the audience begin to realize a cost of his clinging. In centuries past, people have wasted lifetimes searching for the fountain of youth and today people spend thousands of dollars on products and surgeries to try to fight aging. With this in mind, these scenes played beautifully by Pan help elucidate two matters in this discussion: first, for him the youth meant more than current friendships and the promise of loneliness and second, that the youth was so important to him because he feared that with age he would no longer be able to have complete creative freedom to be the trickster that brings him so much joy. Everything has a cost.
Finally, just before the intermission was perhaps the most magical moment of the show, the moment when the audience's belief in Tinkerbell helps save her from the threat of death by Hook's poison. As Pan described that Tinkerbell needed people to believe in her or she would surely pass on, we heard the cries of children in the audience yelling out, "I BELIEVE!!" Even if we know fairies don't exist, we, the adults of the audience, felt ourselves wanting to mimic these children and so we joined together in a roaring applause when we were told that was the key to help her live. This moment was perhaps the most magical moment of the night because in it, even we adults were longing to have faith if that meant we could help one being continue to live. That faith is exactly the definition of humanity. It is the hope that our loved ones don't have to suffer, it is compassion for strangers, it is love for all living beings. That is what makes childhood magical, that children instinctively know that everyone can have a "happily ever after". These magical moments of the show which help us realize that we haven't lost our inner child are what Peter Pan is all about.
This show is $22 for adults for the cheapest seats and discounts are available for youth and senior citizens. The show goes on in the Rodey Theater at UNM until December 11th, 2016. These are the times you can check out the show according to LandmarkMusicals.org:
10 PERFORMANCES • The Rodey Theater
7:30 P.M., FRIDAYS AND SATURDAYS
2 P.M. SUNDAYS
SPECIAL SATURDAY MATINEES ON DECEMBER 3 AND 10