Peter Pan ~ threesixty Theatre (Chicago)

Three Sixty’s presentation of J.M. Barrie’s, “Peter Pan The Show,” 2011 is a whimsically amusing play, full of child-like actors who throw themselves into  each character.

The music helped to carry the drama of each scene and worked wonderfully against some of the rather bizarre moments for various characters.  For example the mermaids swam through the virtual sea that was literally the air above the crowd, against the sounds of a mystical piece that could have easily been borrowed from the Baroque era.  Meanwhile, the pirates came out from every direction of the exit signs behind the 360 seating arrangements to a loud, robust piece that was a perfect match for their menacing attitudes.

Tinker Bell, Tinker Bell, what can one say?  She was an extreme little brat, exactly the kind that we all read about in J. M. Barrie’s book.  She was annoyingly funny and apparently that is what the writer’s desire, because Emily Yetter gave the role all she had.  Tinker Bell and Peter Pan were a perfect pair.  It was clear the crowd loved her, by the bellows of laughter that would come from her frequent antics, or to be quite honest pouting.

Peter Pan was believable too. Ciaran Joyce played the role of Pan well as he displayed the careless spirit of a boy who never wants to grow up, live eternally as an existentialist in a world of fantasy and youth.

Amidst the cast of memorable characters was Wendy who was a convincing mother, especially in moments where you were reminded of her strength when the boys would not listen to her and she had to announce who held the authority.

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The play was an incredible delight to watch as, the aerial performers/actors who played the lead roles, including Wendy’s brothers alternated between the physical stage to the heights of the ‘Sky’.  The imagination of the audience became lost in the illusion of flight thanks to the multi-million dollar, surround image screen projecting revolutionary 3D landscapes that whizzed by.  The aerial feats and acting of the flying performers were timed perfectly as they dove and rose to meet the special effects, as well as interacting with each other. You really believed they were flying.  There were many impressive acts, like the deep-sea diving mermaids. That sequence was well played by the actors who through their performance acted as if they were in actually in the water.  Just when you thought you’ve seen, heard, felt, witnessed it all, the characters just fall (sometimes head first) through the floor and spring into action, as the next set opens up from under the stage ground, lol, literally!!!

There was not a poor performance of the night. From the funny, dastardly pirates and the main villain, the vain, self-engrossed Captain Hook, played by actor Steven Pacey who also  played Mr. Darling, to Tiger Lily’s rather interesting appreciation dance (you have to see it to understand), this play was full of memorable characters.

Threesixty’s presentation of J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan was an excellent family affair full of excitement, drama, humor and creativity. Don’t be like Captain Hook and wait until the clock stops ticking, because then it will be too late. Grab your tickets and go enjoy a wonderful evening. J

“Peter Pan The Show” continues through Aug. 21 at the threesixty Theater at the Tribune Freedom Center along with onsite parking at 700 W. Chicago, $15.00 car.  For more information you can call 888-772-6849.  Groups of 15 or more call Broadway in 1 888-772-6849 7 days a week, 10am-6pm.

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