The threesixty Theatre production of “Peter Pan” is now in Chicago. It features “an ambitious hybrid of live theater, aerial arts, puppetry, and supremely advanced computer-generated visuals.” The project was launched in London and is now on a US tour. The show seems to have solved the Spiderman problem–kids stay in the harness and the computer images move!
Here’s an excerpt from a review of the show in the Chicago Sun Times:
Above all there is a breathtaking flight to Neverland that carries the audience on a vertiginous journey over London rooftops, through the Marble Arch, along the River Thames and high into the clouds before a rough landing on a Caribbean island where a pirate ship hovers.
If something is lost along the way in all this it is the clarity of the storytelling. For as it happens, Barrie’s story (and it’s all there in Tanya Ronder’s adaptation), speaks to children on one level, and adults on another, and it is a great deal more complicated than it appears on the surface. Unquestionably, the sheer sensation of flight has an endless allure, and there are other stunning sensations here, too, including being under water, on a pirate ship, or being surrounded by the dense vegetation of a tropical forest. But the intimacy and clarity of the human relationships, which is what ultimately makes any “Peter Pan” fully tick, sometimes gets blurred in this elaborate production.
I appreciate the reviewer’s understanding of the story’s complexities. My Annotated Peter Pan will be published by W.W. Norton in October 2011–just in time for the 100th anniversary of Peter and Wendy. Writing that volume led me to discover just how weighty, packed, and fiendishly complicated the story really is. And the backstory about Barrie and the five Llewelyn Davies boys is equally compelling.
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