Tri-State Theater

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Thoughts About "Peter Pan"

As often as possible, I try to post reviews of community theatre productions - especially since it's a niche no one has covered since the days Bill Belanger wrote for the Herald-Dispatch.

However, I run into occasional obstacles. As I mention way too often in this space, I'm the president of the First Stage Theatre Company advisory board, so it's hardly fair for me to review our own shows.

So I can't really write a full-fledged review of Peter Pan. If someone out there wants to send in their comments, I'll be glad to include them on this blog - just click on "Post Comment" at the bottom of this entry, or send an email to me at TheMinskers@aol.com.

But if you'll allow me, gentle reader, I will make some comments and observations about the show:

- One of the joys of working with the children's theatre is watching these young people learn and grow. Young actors like Mary Kate Young (Peter Pan), Alissa Fetherolf (Tiger Lily) and Josh Meredith (John) - to use just three examples - have practically grown up on stage, and they've become talented, terrific performers. I couldn't be more proud of them and the rest of the cast.

- I kept howling with laughter at some of the bits of business put in the show. The antics of the "Tree" Amigos, the dancing of the Pirates (the tango being my favorite), Captain Hook ad-libbing a funny cover, the Benny Hill-style chase around the auditorium with the Pirates and the Indians, the running debates between the Lost Boys, the Scooby-Doo chase between Hook, Pan and the trees - I could go on and on. Suffice to say, it's a very funny show.

- The show also has some outstanding dancing sequences, and I like the fact that it gives lots of kids a chance to shine.

- The tech for the show was almost flawless, and that's a major challenge. You only notice the tech when something goes wrong - a mic goes dead, the lights go out, that sort of thing. If it happened, I didn't see or hear it. And the scene changes were amazingly fast.

- As an old community theatre hand, I know how the flying works, I've seen it set up and practiced - but it still gives a thrill when you see characters flying across the stage. Mary Kate is especially good at it - she really seems to be soaring effortlessly.

- I'm always amazed at the high level of talent locally. The singing, the dancing, the acting - it's all excellent.

- It's great to see so many young people getting the chance to perform on stage. Being part of the theatre is such a boost for a young person's self-confidence. I always say, if you can sing and dance in front of a big crowd, you can handle anything.

So those are my first impressions - I'll have more later. I admit I'm prejudiced, but I can't imagine anyone not enjoying this production. You'll walk away from it flying high!

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