Last night I went to see a performance of the musical Peter Pan.
I know, I know, just the night before I wrote that I don’t like stories where people fly. But I have season tickets so if they put on Peter Pan, I go see Peter Pan.
Seeing the show again made me realize that it’s not the flying that I don’t like. It’s the show itself.
Peter is a very strange character. Perhaps his insistence at remaining a boy strikes some as charming, but I think it’s just creepy. And a little foolish.
And there’s something sinister lurking underneath the surface. Peter talks about little boys who fall out of their prams and are never seen again. Then he says he went to his old house and the “windows were barred” and there was another little boy sleeping in his bed.
Not to mention the fact that he hangs around peeping in windows, making little girls fly away with him.
Like I said, creepy!
Of course, part of the problem last night might have been this particular production. The creative staff had some sort of concept in mind that I was either too ignorant or old school to understand.
The Darling family was very traditional, in Victorian garb as expected. And the Lost Boys looked like Lost Boys should, just like the movie.
But the pirates resembled an eighties glam band, complete with animal print spandex, knee-high patent leather boots and waist length hair.
And, this one went completely over my head, the Indians were dressed in plaid kilts with multi-colored Mohawks. They looked like a gang of Scottish punk rockers.
I’m a big fan of shows with a concept, but this one just didn’t work.
Then there was the whole flying thing. Early in the performance they established that the characters were aware they were in a show.
You know the type of thing, where the actors offer little winks and nods to the fact that it’s not real life, taking to the follow spot operator, calling for music cues and the like.
There were people dressed in dark colors who made things happen in plain view of the audience. They held the lights that gave Peter his shadow, they simulated the stars in the sky by dancing around with flashlight.
That didn’t bother me. I liked it, in fact.
When it was time to fly, however, and the people in dark clothing picked Peter up, the stage went very black with light only on Peter’s torso and head.
So, even though they went out of their way to be obviously theatrical for the rest of the show, they decided they were going to try to trick us at that point.
Do they think we’re idiots? There was no plot driven reason for the stage to go suddenly dark. They were just trying to hide something. They would have been better off to just let us see the people carrying around the flying children.
And I haven’t even mentioned the eight minute long scene change in the middle of act three or they fact that they skipped act two, scene two entirely never bothered to fill in for the missing bits of plot the edit created.
But the best part of the entire evening was that the show, with all its flaws, still received a standing ovation.
Sometimes people are way too easy to please.