Review: "Peter Pan" At The Orange County Performing Arts Center
This dazzling performance of "Peter Pan," a revival of J.M. Barrie’s classic tale, takes place in a unique venue, located on the property of the Orange County Performing Arts Center. Guests walk into what looks like a circus tent. The theater, which is set up with a stage in the middle, has a 360-degree computer-generated video playing that makes the audience feel as if it's immersed in the action, flying through Neverland or battling against Captain Hook on his notorious pirate ship.
The flying sequences make the play unlike anything else. William Dudley, who dreamed up the set, costumes and 3D projection design, has found his calling. The performance lives and breathes magic with his set and projection screens, which are the size of three IMAX theaters. Dudley has said that the stage is set up with 12 screens, which integrate seamlessly to give the viewer that immersive feel.
There is no bad seat in the house, as the entire venue is engulfed with video everywhere one could look. Audience members feel as if they could head down to the Lost Boys’ lair, and even swim underwater and meet the mermaids.
Hyde stars in the performance as both Captain Hook and Mr. Darling. Both of these characters are traditionally played by the same actor, and Hyde does the tradition justice. Although he acts for film as well ("Titanic" and "Jumanji"), theater is one of his strengths; he is able to captivate the audience with ease.
Nate Fallows and Abby Ford play Peter and Wendy. Fallows and Ford are both believable in their roles, but neither is as enchanting or charismatic as Hyde.
Don’t expect this account of Tinkerbell to be sweet and quaint. Moreno’s performance of J.M. Barrie’s version of Tinkerbell is more gritty, wearing a dirty pink tutu and showing attitude. She’s very different than the blonde girl in the green pretty dress that Americans are used to seeing.
In fact, the show as a whole might not be what Disney fans expects.
If your only recollection of "Peter Pan" is the Disney version, seeing this creative and innovative new approach is sure to give you an exciting new dimension on Barrie’s original story.
One thing is for sure, this theater-going experience will be unlike anything audiences have ever experienced.
Reach staff reporter Catherine Donahoe here.