You know, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Peter Pan; not the Disney movie, not the Broadway musical. In fact, I don’t even know if one of those is the original tale or if it’s based on a book by some 19th century children’s author.
Oh, I’m semi-aware of the narrative. I have a passing familiarity with it based on Sunday evenings spent watching The Wonderful World of Disney. They would show clips from the movie every so often and I pieced together enough of it to appease my curiosity about the boy who never grew up.
I probably would have gone the rest of my life without ever bothering to find out more…until our last visit to NYC.
We had a recent weekend in New York and managed to take in three Broadway shows while we were there. More about the others later, but the highlight was a (mostly) non-musical play called Peter and the Starcatcher. It was absolutely the most delightful, charming, and uproariously funny piece of theatre I’ve seen in ages. I fell in love with it.
Going in, I knew very little about the play – only that it had something to do with Peter Pan and that it had won 5 of the 9 Tony Awards it was nominated for last year. It turns out that it’s a telling of Peter Pan’s origin story – much in the same way that Wicked is tells the origin story of Oz’s Wicked Witch of the West.
Without giving anything away, the play is brilliantly staged, brilliantly acted, and brilliantly written. The actors look as though they’re having the most fun they’ve ever had on stage, and the story is utterly engaging.
It’s probably nonsensical unless you know the plot, but the first half of the following clip from last year’s Tony Awards does offer a hint of how madcap this production can be.
I do hope that, some point along the way, this production gets filmed – or at least made into a movie. I’d love to be able to see it again. The jokes come fast and furious, and I’m sure I missed a good portion of the word play. In that way, it reminded me of a Marx Bros movie – i.e. you have to listen carefully or you’ll miss the jokes, they come at you so quickly and they’re so clever.
I’m not gonna do a full on theatre review – I don’t have the skills – but suffice it to say, if you do get to NYC in the next few months, go see this production. As for me, maybe it’s time to inform myself about the story of Peter Pan – or at least watch the Disney movie.