Friday, February 03, 2012

Peter Pan's Shadow: Neverland

Part One of Jeremy Menekseoglu's Peter Pan trilogy opened tonight at Dream Theatre. It is a remarkable play, a dark-tinged prequel to the Peter Pan we know.

There are no wires hoisting people into the air. You have to imagine the flying. But the show is a delight for the senses, featuring wild costumes, beautiful art, and a very effective sound design that leans toward classical music.

The performances were creative and crisp. For whatever reason, the one that struck me the most, or perhaps tugged at my heart the most, was Annelise Lawson's Tinker Bell. She agonizingly waits for Peter to grow up, just a little, so that he can finally appreciate her love for him. But, of course, Peter doesn't want to grow  up.

Mishelle Apalategui was a fine Peter. I found myself forgetting that she's really a female. Avery Ferguson was riotous as a crocodile, and strangely perfect as a dog. Jeremy Menekseoglu brought winsome charm to the murderous Captain Hook. Chad Sheveland was precise and hilarious as Hook's Number Two, Smee. Rachel Martindale was eerily controlled as a woman who feels her sanity slipping away over the disappearance of a child. Lana Smithner made a very convincing Wendy.

Finally, Anna Menekseoglu played The Shadow, a complicated role with a lot of acting challenges built into it. She made it look easy, with a trance-like absorption and an elegance of movement. Watching her in this role is like watching some mysterious dance unfold.

Out of the embers, reborn,
she undulates, dark and forlorn.

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