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BWW Review: Not Even Pixie Dust Could Get FINDING NEVERLAND off the Ground

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Cast of FINDING NEVERLAND
Photo by Jeremy Daniel

Seeing the origin story of one of your favorite childhood stories should be exhilarating, exciting, and uplifting, right? Unfortunately, the touring production of FINDING NEVERLAND playing at the Dr. Phillips Center this week is none of those things.

The show is based on the 2004 film of the same name and it follows the tale of famous playwright J.M. Barrie and his ups and downs while writing "Peter Pan." While one would think this would make for a phenomenal musical, the whimsy and magic are just not there. I may be bias however - I saw the show about a year ago in New York City and I absolutely loved it. The touring production has undergone extensive rewrites and to be quiet honest I am unsure why that is. The show opens with Barrie (played by Will Ray) literally telling the audience what the show is going to be about and a musical number, "Welcome to London," to show the audience where we are. All of the characters have British accents (Barrie is meant to have a Scottish accent and I have no idea where that went in this production), so this feels unneeded. and the original writing of the show included a number at the beginning in which J.M. Barrie was grappling with who he was as a writer at a London party that was celebrating him. The rewrites seem benign and random and they truly lack heart.

It feels like the audience is just thrown in, and the emotional buildup is lacking. The romance between Barrie and Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (played by Christine Dwyer) feels rushed as well. But enough about the writing, let's talk about the cast!

Finn Faulconer, Mitchell Wray,
Jordan Cole and Ben Krieger
in FINDING NEVERLAND
Photo by Carol Rosegg

The shining stars in the production are the Llewelyn Davies boys played by Finn Faulconer, Mitchell Wray, Jordan Cole and Ben Krieger as Peter. Krieger was especially amazing - he has a beautiful voice and the acting chops to match!

Another enjoyable performance was by Rory Donovan. Donovan plays the roles of both Captain Hook and producer Charles Frohman - two very different roles but he is able to pull them off convincingly with a strong voice and his delightful wit.

FINDING NEVERLAND runs now through June 11 at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets can be purchased through drphillipscenter.org


So, was FINDING NEVERLAND as magic-less to you as it was to me? Let me know! Don't forget to follow BWW Orlando on Facebook and Twitter by clicking below. You can also connect with me about this show and all things theatre by following me on Twitter @libbychamps.


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