Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Not Panning Out?

Well, author Andrea Jones and I have been trying to schedule another 'play date,' if you will.  The last one had been almost a year ago.  We never did finish the screening of Andrew Birkin's marvelous presentation The Lost Boys starring Ian Holm as Sir J.M. Barrie.  I'm sure we will have more discussions on our favorite subject, as well as our respective introspective returns to the Neverland/World.  We were also hoping to take in the Lookingglass Theatre Company's new production of Peter Pan.  Unfortunately, though, the ol' scheduling bug keeps buzzing a fly into our ointment.

However, I recently looked up some reviews of the staging.  I hate to make a judgment without seeing the show myself, but from what I have seen and read, I am able to say with a great degree of certainty that I would not enjoy it.

Besides my normal pet peeves, such as the hook of the infamous pirate captain being on the being on the wrong hand and Tink being played by a person... it seems like the play is not very well received.  It's described as flat, unfocused and missing the core ideas of Barrie's story.

I think minimalism on stage has a definite place and can be done to great effect.  I've even seen a production called Alice's Adventures Underground which used a table as not just the tea table, but the Caterpillar's mushroom (which actors lifted above Alice's head to make her shrink) as well as turned upside down to represent the boat sailing down the Thames wherein Dodgson told Alice the whimsical tale about her at the beginning of the show.  Very creative and it had an aura of "Imagine with us!"  Now granted, I have not seen the Lookingglass Peter Pan, so it might in fact employ the same sense of wonder.  In fact, it's been praised for its acrobatics and choreography.  But from the pictures provided, I'm underwhelmed to say the least.

Darn it.  I'd been looking forward to another new adaptation, especially since it had been hailed as being on the darker side.  I tend to think of the darker side of Barrie's tale.  But truthfully, without the other side of the coin, the tale just doesn't work... which Barrie knew, of course.  And from what I've read, this production lacks the balance and command of his double-edged sword.
Oh well... I think this purist will be opting to not be disappointed.  A bald Captain Hook?  Not unless it's the one by Damion Dietz in the movie Neverland, thanks.

Meanwhile, Andrea and I might have to 'play' again in person in January.

Here are the reviews that swayed my opinion:
Chicago Critic (also from where I obtained the pictures)

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