The show must go on and as the weeks must, the shows continue to go online. This week’s offering from the Show Must Go On scheme was NBC’s 2014 live TV musical Peter Pan. Even though I know the story of the boy who never grew up and the magical land of Neverland, I felt like I was going in blind to this one having never seen any version of it on stage and not knowing any of the music, and I have to say that I rather enjoyed this one.
Allison Williams plays the title role of Peter Pan here and she brings a lovely energy to the role. Everything is a little bit over-exaggerated in places but it sorts the character really. Everything about Peter Pan is larger than life and buzzing with childhood glee and Williams is able to illustrate this, whilst making it look easy to jump from dancing to flying at the drop of a hat. Taylor Louderman plays a charming Wendy Darling, impressing vocally and showing off a lovely chemistry in her mothering role to the lost boys. Jake Lucas and John Allyn play John and Michael Darling respectively and both are instantly likable in the roles, with both able to keep up with the older boys easily.
The big name pull of this televised production was Christopher Walken in the role of Captain Hook. Whilst he may not have the greatest of voices, more speaking his lines instead of singing, he gives it all and appears to delight in playing the villain. The dynamic between him and his pirate crew is enjoyable to watch as his bosses around Smee (Christian Borle) and his fellow trouble makers. That being said, the pirate scenes seem a little slow moving and stretched out, giving Captain Hook a lot of screen time. Kelli O’Hara gets her moment to shine as Mrs Darling, singing a lullaby to her missing children.
The highlight of Peter Pan Live for me was the lost boys, overflowing with energy and joy as they leapt around the set. They performed a number of high energy dance routines with ease and it was wonderful to see each boy given their own personality. I very much enjoyed the ‘I Won’t Grow Up’ number which sees the boys throw away their school books in order to continue playing and running wild over their island. F.Michael Haynie as Slightly, Ryan Steele as Curly and Jason Gotay as Tootles were particularly impressive.
Sometimes televised performances can feel a little clunky, with gaps between the action but Peter Pan flows pretty nicely considering the size and scale of the sets. Neverland is a blur of bright greens and blues, and Captain Hooks ship is brought to life in a huge fashion. The set for the lost boys hideaway is like something out of a childhood dream; the ultimate tree house escape with hammocks and slides. There is a wonderful sense of childlike glee about this whole production, making for very enjoyable weekend viewing for the whole family. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, it really is all about the fun and magic of this much loved story.