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Sonoma County Gazette
Peter Pan Flies
Peter Pan (Sarah Wintermeyer) flies above an astounded Wendy (Lucy London), Michael (James Coté), and John (Tony Cavallero).

Review – ‘Peter Pan’ at Spreckels Theatre Company

May 15, 2018
by Alexa Chipman


Fairy dust lifts the Darling children soaring through starry skies to a fantastical realm of pirates and eternal youth. Since 1904, J. M. Barrie’s tale of Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up, has captured the imagination; deep down we want to believe in happy endings. Spreckels’ enthralling production includes midair fight scenes, Tinkerbell rifling through drawers and shifting pictures through practical effects, and elaborate costumes. Director Sheri Lee Miller has honed an effective ensemble for Neverland exploits.

Sarah Wintermeyer’s Peter Pan flies with ease, exhorting Wendy to stand up for herself and crow without hesitation. Their “Distant Melody” lullaby is a moving symphony of delicate compassion. Lucy London’s polished soprano elevates Wendy Darling with glowing enthusiasm until she realizes that Peter Pan cannot care for her in the way she hopes.

Captain Hook (David L. Yen) and the pirates revel in their sinister machinations.

Leading the pirate shenanigans as Captain Hook, David L. Yen’s well-placed eye rolls and unnatural terror of the crocodile are operatic in scale. His Mr. Darling adds amusing spice to the early scenes with exaggerated reluctance to take medicine before bed. Nana, the family dog (Andy Templeton), was a favorite with young audience members.

Reinterpreting Tiger Lily as a generic warrior is undermined by the feathers and painted makeup choices, resulting in a concerning depiction of the natives. Michella Snider’s choreography is energetic, with high kicks and grand jetés for the birds contrasting with stomping pirate tarantellas. Marty Pistone’s fight choreography is filled with entertaining threats, back fist strikes and the occasional fake eye poke. The live orchestra, led by Timothy Eisman, is a treat of fanciful trilling and earthy drumming.

Nana (Andy Templeton) is sent to the doghouse by Mr. Darling (David L. Yen) and pitied by Mrs. Darling (Morgan Harrington)

Pamela Johnson’s costume designs of gauzy nightgowns, heavily embroidered doublets, and garish pirate coats blend into Elizabeth Bazzano and Eddy Hansen’s sets that range from a pastel Edwardian nursery to the jungle retreat in Neverland with functional mushroom chimneys. Hansen’s lighting design illuminates Peter Pan’s gleeful teasing at Captain Hook’s expense and Tinkerbell’s antics.

Spreckels’ swashbuckling ‘Peter Pan’ will delight any age—just clap your hands to believe, and watch the magic come to life in Rohnert Park.

Peter Pan

Presented by Spreckels Theatre Company through May 20, 2018
Thur/Fri/Sat at 7:00pm, Sat/Sun at 1:00pm

Nellie W. Codding Theatre at Spreckels Performing Arts Center
5409 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park, CA 94928
(707) 588-3400

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Live theater Reviews by Alexa Chipman


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