Review - Qld Ballet's Peter Pan: what a great night out
Choreographed by Trey McIntyre
Music by Sir Edward Elgar and Neil DePonte
Performed by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Nigel Gaynor
Queensland Performing Arts Centre
Season: October 25-November 5. Duration: two hours fifteen minutes including two intervals. Bookings: qpac.com.au or 136 246
Peter Pan and co really can fly and amazingly so!
Rian Thompson was a terrific hero and managed to encompass all the facets of the irrepressible little boy who never grew up (actually he did grow up a little bit in this version) and he showed some amazing aerial skills as he took to the skies in the fabulous aerial ballet along with the Darling children, Wendy, John and little Michael.
The aerial sequences were really something special.
This was a second restaging of the Houston Ballet production and it contains slapstick comedy, sword fighting, pirates, mermaids, scary Red Skins, and fairies.
Elgar’s score, played by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Nigel Gaynor, is fast and furious with few adagio passages but it worked brilliantly with the action on stage.
I saw this show in 2015 and was a little disappointed. What a difference a couple of years makes! This time I had a ball and enjoyed every minute of the three acts. I am not sure of how things had changed, but it looked and sounded different.
The opening scene puzzled me last time and so did the dark and sombre Mother and Father, but not this time, maybe it was familiarity, but everything fell into place.
The show, opened with a trio of tall evil looking figures that pushed the Darling children on stage in prams. The synopsis told us that the children were looked after by fairly unpleasant nursemaids who treated them badly but they were not really troubled as they were also cared for by a bunch of athletic fairies, which included a mischievous Tinkerbell danced delightfully by Neneka Yoshida.
There were four children in the prams, Wendy, John, Michael, and another child with wild orange hair called Peter, apparently the fourth Darling child.
One day Peter fell from his pram and was swept away with the rubbish never to be seen again.
Joel Woellner and Yanela Pinera danced Mr and Mrs Darling, and they created dark figures in deadpan masks to portray the grieving parents of a lost son.
Oddly enough when Peter Pan arrives on the scene he is the same child.
The act contained some amazing shadow work that was so well done it was impossible at times to tell which were shadows and which were live dancers in front of the screen. Christina R Giannelli’s lighting plot for the entire ballet was exceptional. During the aerial ballet the wires were completely hidden.
I thought Lucy Green the perfect Wendy as she projected innocent grace and beauty and yet maintained the child image. It was beautifully danced.
This year Camilo Ramas danced a sprightly John and a cheeky Michael was danced again with a great sense of fun by Lina Kim. There is no dog in this one, but Lisa Edwards nicely matched the dark Darling parents as the starchy maid Liza.
The second act saw the introduction of a mischievous group of Lost Boys, the sinister Red Skins, the brainless Pirates, led by the villainous Captain Hook, and of course the crocodile. Hook was danced, complete with lobster claw hand by Victor Estevez. He obviously enjoyed his role.
Act three was sheer action as the Lost Boys and the Darling children are captured and brought on board the pirate ship only to be rescued by Peter Pan. Then the battle begins and all hell breaks loose on board.
There are some softer moments – the Mermaid Dance for one with some gentle moves from Yanela Pinera, Lisa Edwards and Mia Heathcote and some pretty pas de deux with Wendy and Peter. I enjoyed the Red Skins dances too led by Sophie Zoricic and Vita Bernasconi. They were nicely sinister and slithery
There was a full house at the performance and it is a show that deserves such an audience.