BWW Review: PETER PAN 360 at AT&T Performing Arts Center
Like THE WIZARD OF OZ or CINDERELLA, PETER PAN is the kind of story reinvented as frequently as is it remembered. In a story packed with pirates, Indians, fairies, and flying, Peter's plan to never grow up is relatable to every kid and every kid-at-heart alike. In its newest incarnation, PETER PAN 360, producers Herrick Entertainment and Threesixty Entertainment bill the show as an "undeniably impressive as a stage spectacle [with] fast-paced, action-packed staging. [This show features] 22 actors, stunning puppets, epic music, dazzling flying sequences, and the world's first 360 degree CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery) theatre set."
In its 1,500 seat tent located in downtown Dallas, PETER PAN 360 is as much of a spectacle as promised. Mermaids perform acrobatics while suspended in their long, silk tails; lost boys climb to frightening heights; and the principal characters soar through the air in one of the most stunning stage effects in recent memory.
However, the famous boy and his story occasionally seem to get lost behind the façade of circus tricks. Although the talented cast skillfully executes Thom Southerland's creative direction, this production prioritizes the spectacle over the story telling. The dialogue does (mostly) follow the J.M. Barrie book and popular Broadway script, but the show drags through its major plot points, leaving large gaps where familiar songs used to be. New songs, written without credit to any composer, are weak imitations of their predecessors.
At the performance this Thursday, Adam Kezele made his debut flight as the title character. Mr. Kezele, who usually plays lost boy Curly, was at ease on (and above) the stage. His exuberant spirit was infectious, keeping all eyes on him as he dominated the stage.
Opposite Kezele was understudy Megan Godin as Wendy. (Godin usually plays a mermaid, and also understudys Tinker Bell). The pint-sized actress was picture perfect for the young heroine of the show, whose innocence matched with maturity allowed her to be mother to this band of ragtag boys.
Jessica Sherman's hilarious physical comedy as Tinker Bell was an obvious audience favorite; Hannah Jane McMurray was elegant and heart warming as Mrs. Darling; Jackson Bartelme was a riot as both Smee and Nana; and Nina Sawant and Elisa Penello's mermaids (with their Cirque du Soleil-worthy stunts) were quite a sight to see!
PETER PAN 360 might be more for the Disney On Ice crowd than the Disney On Broadway kind of audience, but the show is full of innovative, exciting technology and deserves praise for its fresh approach.
The tour performs in Dallas through December 6th, with tickets ranging $25-$90. Guests should be prepared for extremely warm conditions in the tent, and leave coats and sweaters in the car; seating is very intimate. More information is available at www.PeterPan360.com or www.attpac.org.