Peter Pan

Playhouse Theatre (Queensland Ballet)


All children except one, grow up. – J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan and Wendy, 1904

For those who want never to grow up, Peter Pan offers an attractive tale. The story has been told in the theatre, in a novel and on the silver screen. In this production the Queensland Ballet takes us into a world of dance to experience the ‘Neverland’ to which Peter Pan escapes.

Camilo Ramos dances a vigorous, athletic title role. Wendy is danced magnificently by Yanela Pinera. She brings a fluid grace to the stage with great emotional range. She displays the exhilaration of youth at times but is also capable of expressing the pathos of loss and disappointment.

This production comes from the choreography of Trey McIntyre, originally produced for the Houston Ballet, Texas.

With technological wizardry, the dancers fly through the air, twisting and soaring in effortless fashion.

Clever, creative use of lighting highlights the contrast between the world of light and the world of shadows.

The Queensland Symphony Orchestra performs the music of Edward Elgar and Neil De Ponte exquisitely.

Drama unfolds aplenty when Peter Pan comes to fight his adversary, the evil Captain Hook, danced ably by Vito Bernasconi.

There is much in the production to engage and delight the audience. Your reviewer was left, however, with a sense of something missing, as if the dramatic adventure had been rendered anodyne, a bit too Disney-like. The costumes and setting for Captain Hook and the pirates were colourful to the point of being merry rather than menacing. Somehow the element of menace found in classical children’s tales, was missing. By contrast, the Rats in the Nutcracker, for example, create dramatic tension before they are overwhelmed by the forces of good.

Your reviewer’s reservations appear not to have been shared by the sell-out audience who clearly enjoyed the ballet immensely. There is no doubt that it is a night of truly fine dancing and music.

Choreography: Trey McIntyre
Composers: Edward Elgar and Neil De Ponte
Music arranged by Neil De Ponte with further instrumental arrangement by Andrew Mogrelia
Set designer: Thomas Boyd
Costume designer: Jeanne Button
Lighting designer: Christina R Giannelli
Stagers: James Payne and Dawn Scannell
Conductor: Andrew Mogrelia
Running Time: 2 hours 15 minutes with two 20-minute intervals
Performances: 26 June to 11 July 2015

Editor’s note: As an addendum, the editor reports that he attended the 3rd July matinee where Teri Crilly danced Wendy with great poise and beauty. Moreover, in relation to our esteemed reviewer’s closing comments, the editor’s granddaughter, aged 4, confided during the production that she was ‘a bit scared’. -JH

— Matt Foley
(Performance seen: Fri 26th June 2015)