Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Peter Pan 360

Tinkerbell and Wendy (book photo)
The big white tent is coming down and the show is leaving town. Peter Pan 360, a 21st-century update of J M Barrie's century-old fable, closed its San Francisco run over the Labor Day weekend. I did enjoy its mix of acrobatics, special effects, and drama, but not as much as some enthusiastic reviewers.

What I liked: 1) The rolling R's, clear diction, and dramatic presence of the British leads; 2) The creative use of puppets and machinery to animate Nana the Newfoundland dog and the crocodile, Hook's nemesis. 3) The acrobatics of "flying" on support wires and the choreographed transitions as the play resumed on land.

Why I can't give it four stars: 1) the spotty quality of the secondary actors; 2) in a world where spectacle can be pulled up on home widescreens the CGI doesn't measure up to Avatar and the actors aren't Cirque du Soleil acrobats; 3) the adult ticket price of $80 to $120 is steep (it will be lower when the show moves to Orange County later this month).

But these nits are more about my idiosyncrasies than this production. I know that I wanted more song-and-dance--I can't watch "Pygmalion" without hoping for a few numbers from "My Fair Lady." And live action is expensive, especially when situated on the expensive San Francisco waterfront. It was a pleasurable afternoon that I'll remember fondly, if not forever, but for quite a while. © 2010 Stephen Yuen

Even from the back there's a good view

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