The Take-Away

  • Strong design elements.

  • Great ensemble work.

  • Peter Pan, as a story, doesn’t really hold up.

  • Children are a joy to watch theatre with.

In Our Pockets

Emma

Big thing for we was that I totally messed up and showed up about 20 minutes late. I missed the first half of the first scene and was a little flustered. Also know and have worked with some of the cast before.

 

Lola

I know some of the cast members and tend to really enjoy the Arden’s TYA shows. Also, I love student matinees with all of my heart. It’s an honest and beautiful place to be at 10am.

 

Emma

Very, very true. I am a huge sucker for watching kids watch theatre.

Design

Emma

I felt that one of the big strengths of the show was the way that many of the set elements were used in a lot of different and sometimes very surprising ways.

Lola

Yeah! I didn’t love the “camping” framing device, but I loved watching characters fly in from different parts of the campsite. And the use of trap doors and underground tunnels was pretty brilliant. When the mermaids popped out of the ground, I felt like a little kid, I was so giddy.

Emma

Yes! And the mermaid costumes were really great too. I think Olivera Gajic did a great job differentiating the TONS of different characters that each actor played without making quick changes too complicated.

Lola

Just simple hats and sweatshirts! Super effective costumes. The lights were also appropriately foresty. The light up gloves for Tinkerbell didn’t work as well. Philly Shakespeare used the same light fingers for the fairies in their production of a Midsummer Night’s Dream a few years back, and it was more atmospheric and strange.

Emma

I liked the gloves having not seen the effect before–I think the throwing of Tinkerbell between actors’ hands was fun and mostly well-executed. Shoutout to Eliana Fabiyi for the live sound effects and music on the violin.

Lola

Oh yeah. What a wonderful musician! It did leave me wishing for more instrumentation and music onstage. Eliana played so well, that it made the few songs without a live instrument onstage feel empty.

Emma

Yeah, the live sound also felt more in line with the cozy, story-telling around the fire feel of the show.

Direction

Lola

Whit is incredibly inventive and moves things pretty quickly, but 2 hours and 15 minutes is too long for most theatre.

Emma

Yeah, I agree about the length–I think that because it was a pretty well-paced show and there were these really surprising bits of staging, I didn’t necessarily feel the length as much. Still I think that as a play and as an adaptation of Barrie’s story, more could be done to the actual script to make it a little shorter.

Talk about the performances:

Emma

Really great ensemble work, especially from Brandon Pierce, Leah Walton, and Eliana. They made a lot of weird and delightful character choices and watching them transform over and over was a joy

 

Lola

And so consistently different! Sometimes actors doing ensemble tracks can bleed their characters together, but they all did a great job making clear, and distinctly different, characters.

 

Emma

Also loved Catherine Slusar as Hook. Watching the kids react to her first entrance may have been the highlight of the show for me.

 

Lola

Slusar is so strong onstage, she made an exciting Hook. And the choice to rock her beautiful baldness, and not give her a wig, made me weepy.

 

Emma

She also handled a talk-back question about it with so much grace.

 

Accountability 

Emma
In terms of “why this show, now,” I realized watching this really well-done production that I don’t really care about Peter Pan as a story at all. Ultimately, it’s a story about a boy who wants the women in his life to just take care of him without really giving much support in return, and that feels kind of shitty.

Lola

I also don’t understand the Peter Pan appeal, but I know people love it and feel very precious about the story. I guess Neverland offers and escape in some way, but it was always icky in my head to watch Wendy get thrust into a mother role. 

Emma

I felt that too. Because the Neverland rules that work for Peter (ie. We get to be kids and have fun forever) don’t really apply to her. They want her to immediately be the grown-up.

Lola

Only boys get to be lost. And they say that quite a bit. And Tinkerbell, the only other female presence, is kind of a jerk. Having a gender-queer Peter and a female Hook was an interesting idea, but I’m not certain it was fully explored.

 

Emma

Right. And then there is Tiger Lily, but she hardly appears in this version.

 

Lola

But at least they edited out the offensive language about her. I was interested in seeing if they would cutesy the story up too much. And they didn’t, but this show did feel the most like a “children’s show” of everything I’ve seen at the Arden.

 

Emma

I hear that. I ultimately really enjoyed the experience, but for SURE catch a weekday matinee if at all possible.

 

Lola

Absolutely.

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