Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

November 24, 2011

Peter Pan

The Bushnell, Hartford, CT
through November 27, 2011
by Walt Haggerty

Cathy Rigby as Peter Pan has become almost as traditional as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade…and she's marvelous! Rigby is no stranger to the "boy who refuses to grow up" and it appears that, now in her fourth tour, that she is equally ageless.

In the current production, Cathy Rigby is constantly in motion - somersaults, cart wheels, twists, turns, and of course, flying - oh yes, especially flying. It would be difficult to imagine a more exuberant or, in fact, endearing portrayal of Peter Pan.

Finding an equally talented actor to fill the dual roles of Mr. Darling and the "slimiest villain of all,"Captain Hook, had to have been nearly insurmountable. However, in Tom Hewitt, success was achieved with a flourish. From tango to tarentella, to waltz, Captain Hook triumphs. Only in his duel with Peter is he undone.

Kim Crosby gives an endearing performance as the mother of the Darling children, balancing her concern for them with respect and understanding for their overwrought father. Crosby is also effective as the grown up Wendy.  Krista Bucellato as young Wendy is delightful, overflowing with tender concern for her brothers and the Lost Boys. Cade Canon Ball (John) and Julia Massey (Michael) perform admirably as Wendy's brothers, each adding special distinctive touches of humor, with Massey a particular standout in the big Act II dance number.

James Leo Ryan, as Hook's sidekick Smee, is the soul of subservience with humor. Clark Roberts, without ever showing his face as either Nana or the Croc, creates distinctive personalities for each as he effortlessly steals each scene. Jenna Wright, as Tiger Lily and rescuer of Peter, charms the audience with her dancing and acting. The music and dance throughout are superb, perfect supplements to the original James Barrie story.

The joy of all participants, principals, Lost Boys, pirates, Indians, et al is evident throughout and rewarded vociferously by a capacity audience. Some final words  -- "Peter Pan" is a pleasure for all ages. If an excuse is needed to attend, borrow some children, but go and enjoy.