Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Peter Pan

Peter Pan was, by far, the most fun that I have had at a theater event on this trip. Set up in a white, circus-like tent in Kensington Gardens, a beautiful London park, the theater-in-the-round boasts an Imax kind of experience in that the setting (London rooftops, Neverland, the Pirates' ship) was projected onto the ceiling of the tent above the seats and the simple stage.

Before even entering the tent itself, we were able to eat dinner outside in a little cabana in the gorgeous park (tragically, they had missed their shipment of paninis that morning and we were forced to eat cake for our meal) and watched as the families piled into the theater. Once inside, we were treated to one of the most imaginative and creative uses of space and objects that I have seen in a long time. The use of puppetry for Nana and a Neverland bird, a sort of bicycle contraption for the crocodile, and a bathtub on wheels for the pirates' rowboat were so inventive and clever. The stage floor itself had sections that would rotate, revealing beds, tree trunks, or undersea rocks for hiding mermaids.

The best part about Peter Pan was watching the little British kids react to the action, sometimes yelling out in concern for the Lost Boys or to warn them about pirates. The five-year-old little blond boy next to me was eagerly kneeling up in his chair by the end of the show so that he could see better. After the show and on the way out of the park, some boys had taken off their socks to use them as hand puppets, pretending to be the Neverland bird.

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