TV Review: Peter Pan Live (2014)

Posted: December 20, 2014 in Movies, Music

Peter Pan Live

Wendy Darling (Taylor Louderman) her brothers, Michael (John Allyn) and John (Jake Lucas) are raised by a stern father named George (Christian Borle) and his doting wife. (Kelli O’Hara)  Mrs. Darling complains to George that she saw a boy, and a fairy, she hit the boy’s shadow and captured it.  George dismisses this wild tale.  When Peter Pan (Allison Williams) comes back to the Darling house to reclaim his shadow, Wendy sews it on for him.  Peter teaches Wendy and her brothers to fly, and invites her to come to Neverland to be his mother and take care of the Lost Boys, boys who have fallen out of their cribs at birth and have been adopted by Peter.  Wendy happily accepts and flies off to Neverland with her brothers and Peter Pan.

No sooner does Wendy arrive in Neverland, then she is shot with an arrow by one of the Lost Boys who is told by  the fairy Tinkerbell that Wendy is a bird.  Wendy recovers, because the arrow hit a charm given to her by Peter.   Wendy approaches mothering Peter and the Lost Boys with renewed enthusiasm, trying to teach them how to be proper gentlemen.  Wendy is blissfully unaware that a pirate named Captain Hook (Christopher Walken) is lurking, seeking revenge on Peter by destroying him.  Does Hook succeed?  Does Wendy stay in Neverland forever?

This is NBC’s second attempt at airing a musical on tv, and I must say I liked it.  I have never seen any adaptation of Peter Pan, animated or live action.  The most famous live action version of Peter Pan was done by Mary Martin which aired n 1955 on tv, I never saw that version, but the singing was good on this version, for the most part, and everyone seemed to be having fun.

I liked Allison Williams’ voice and her energy.  Kelli O’Hara probably had the best voice of the whole cast, she almost sounded operatic. It’s too bad she only had two songs to sing. Taylor Louderman as Wendy seemed to be the most committed to her role and seemed to have the most fun.  The least impressive performance was given by the most famous person on stage.  Christopher Walken gave an oddly lackadaisical, lackluster, low energy performance.  Hook is supposed to be animated by vengeance, brimming with evil.  Walken just seemed tired and out of place, and his singing and dancing were atrocious.  Soon, his British accent was gone, and the trademark Walken cadence was there in it’s place.  It was a sad performance, because it bordered on self-satire.

It was very long, 3 hours is very long even with commercials, the length hurt the play, 2 hours was more than enough.  The final sword-fight was badly staged, and the wires were clearly visible on Peter and the other flyers.  The writers should have edited the story down to 2 hours with commercials and that would have made it more palatable.

Peter Pan Live.  Give Walken the hook.

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