Last Weds went to see Peter Pan: The Ballet Experience, from the Royal New Zealand Ballet, thanks to dear Felice my grandmother (who bought the tickets and sat next to me) and my mother (who double-booked herself so leaving a ticket free for me).
Great fun it was, a lot more like theatre than the ballet I’ve seen in the past. The design of the show was amazing, and the choreography (which at least one reviewer somewhere described as Russell Kerr’s greatest work) was inventive, engaging, and so effective at storytelling that words were unnecessary. The cast were all great, although I was disappointed we landed the only evening performance where Hook wasn’t played by Sir Jon Trimmer, the septuagenarian national treasure!
If I was somewhat more inclined to ramble on self-indulgently this morning, I’d write about whether we don’t generally under-value familiar stories. I appreciated how everyone in the theatre knew how the story went, even the very little children (of whom there were many). One small but notable change was to make the children’s ‘Nana’, a dog in the original (and the Disney version), a human nanny – one member of our party was disappointed!
It of course ended as the original play did, with the Darling family re-united and Peter forever apart. No allusions to the deeply strange final chapter of the novel (which, it should be remembered, was written after the play) where Peter returns a year later and has no memory of Captain Hook or Tinkerbell, and assumes the latter has probably died; Peter goes on to visit through the generations and take away Wendy’s female descendants in succession to Neverneverland. It’s odd, and the final line really underlined the oddness of the whole story: “…thus it will go on, so long as children are gay and innocent and heartless.”