Thursday, September 29, 2011

Theater Review: Peter Pan

I've always been fascinated by the story of Peter Pan. I had this black and white comic book when I was a little girl and I remember feeling very sad for Peter when his pram got carried away by the wind and when he tried once to come home only to see his mother already enjoying taking care of another baby. (I even disliked the Little Mermaid back then because the story ended up very unhappily).

Fortunately, Walt Disney has made fairy tales more kid-friendly. I'm glad my boys grew up knowing those versions of Peter Pan and other classic stories. Although there are still some sad parts there, at least the endings are no longer as tragic and won't make a young child feel very depressed after.

A few months ago, I eagerly attended Repertory Philippines and Stages' press con about Peter Pan. There, they introduced to us the cast who delighted us with a few songs. The sneak peek only whetted up the appetites of avid theater enthusiasts like myself and several of my friends. We knew, just seeing Sam Concepcion (Peter Pan) and Michael Williams (Captain Hook) in costume and hearing them sing, that it would be a great show.

And what a marvelous production it is! I love everything about Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure. The lighting and set are marvelous and so are the props! Who'd have thought that buildings could turn into beds or that a house could instantly be built on stage with just a few card boards? Oh, and watch out for how they got Tinkerbell and dog-cum-nursemaid Nana in the scenes. That was very creative!

The songs are also very, very beautiful especially the ones Wendy (Tippy dos Santos who alternates with Cara Barredo) and her mother (Ms. Pinky Marquez) sang on different occasions. I guess moms, like me, would zero in on that lullaby's gentle melody more than anything else. However, you might also find yourself humming "Neverland" and "When I Kill Peter Pan" because these tunes are really, really catchy.

All the cast did very well. John (Nacho Tambunting), Michael (John Michael Santos), and the Lost Boys showcased the exuberance expected of young men while Smee (Robbie Zialcita) and the rest of Captain Hook's crew members were more silly than scary which was a good thing because very young audiences laughed in glee instead of being afraid. I love the energy of Tiger Lily (Kakki Teodoro) and the serenity of Ms. Joy Virata as she guided the audiences along the story as the narrator and as a surprise character towards the end.

When Sam first rose up in the air, poised to "fly", there was an audible intake of breath from a lot of people in the theater Seeing Peter Pan up in the air, confidently singing, and being followed by Wendy, John, and Michael seemed very magical. I'd guess that scene tickled in many of us that long forgotten dream of wanting to fly wherever we could when we were little.

Hats off to Peter Pan's directors, Mr. Jaime del Mundo (who also plays Mr. Darling) and Ms. Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, one of my top favorite theater actresses, and the rest of the creative and technical teams for such an unforgettable show.

Peter Pan flies until October 30 at the Meralco Theater in Pasig City. For inquiries and other information, call Repertory Philippines at 571-6926 and 571-4941 or email Tickets are also available at Ticketworld at 891-9999. 

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