Review: Peter Pan Live!

I just wanted to write a quick review of NBC’s Thursday broadcast of Peter Pan Live!  Watching this had completely slipped my mind, until Blue Striker finished his homework early and wanted to watch some TV.  BTW, thanks a lot to NBC for showing a three hour long play (padded by commercials) on a school night.  I realize that Fridays and Saturdays are TV graveyards nowadays, but this meant that many kids stayed up way past their Thursday bedtimes.  Oh, well, I guess it’s my fault that I failed to plan for this “special event”. (Sarcasm intended.)

I think Alison Williams, the daughter of NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, dispelled any notion of nepotism with her portrayal of Peter Pan.  She was very cute and spunky when she needed to be, and appropriately melancholic at the end. Her English accent was good, but I say this as an American, so what do I know?  She had a bit of a problem with the flying, but in the final scene, when Peter flies into Wendy’s window for the last time, it was magic. Blue Striker, as with most kids watching the play Peter Pan for the first time, was confused by Peter’s gender.  Was Peter a boy or a girl?  I had to explain to him that a petite woman traditionally portrays Peter on stage, because the role is too demanding and strenuous for an actual 12 year old boy. (I didn’t go into child labor laws and all that.)

As much as I like Christopher Walken as an actor, I think he was out of his element as Captain Hook.  He is, at best, a double threat — great actor, OK dancer, please leave the singing to someone else.  And I think he was a bit old for a part that involved some physicality. Blue Striker was less generous with regard to this; according to him, “wow, that guy is old!” Neil Patrick Harris would have been great as Captain Hook, but he’s overexposed as it is.

The other cast members ranged from splendid to just OK.  Taylor Louderman as Wendy was a bit flat, although I did like Minnie Driver as the adult Wendy, bad blonde wig and all.  The Lost Boys, the pirates and the Indians were fantastic dancers.  Blue Striker did object to the Indians’ costumes — “they’re half naked!”  But I had no such objection (hot guys in flesh-colored Speedos and feathers? <<Ahem>>).  And I appreciated the fact that the Indians’ song “Ugg-A-Wugg” was replaced by “True Blood Brothers”.

The production values were pretty good.  The costumes were pretty nifty — I really liked the pirate costumes.  And I can’t believe they used a real dog to play Nana!  Given the unpredictability of animals and the live setting, the fact that the dog who played Nana did such a good job is a testimony not only to the dog, but to the trainer. On the other hand, whoever designed the crocodile should have been told to do it over — it looked terrible!  And the flying apparatus crew needed more practice with pulling Allison Williams around on the wire rig (except, as mentioned before, at the end).

Overall, Peter Pan Live! was good, not great.  Blue Striker enjoyed it, despite the objections noted above.  And he had no problem staying awake until 11 o’clock.

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