PETER PAN Magically Soars at Players Club of Swarthmore

by Ginger Agnew

Long ago and far away there was a boy who never grew up. For the lucky theater patrons of The Players Club of Swarthmore, that ‘boy’ lives and breathes. PETER PAN is the story of a London family and the childhood adventures of their three children in Neverland. The children are escorted to Neverland by a boy who won’t grow up, Peter Pan. While there the children have adventures that include pirates and their leader Captain Hook, Indians, pixies, wily crocodiles and a band of lost boys. Most magical of all, they fly! This show is an enchanting adventure.

The Darling family children Wendy, John, and Michael are delightfully portrayed by Anna Ferrigno,

Peter (Amanda Panrock of Morton) shows John (Nick Shaffer of Swarthmore), Michael (Will Rubin of Media) and Wendy (Anna Ferrigno of Springfield) how to fly, in PETER PAN – running now through November 9th at The Players Club of Swarthmore Theater. (Photo credit: Jim Carroll)

Nick Shaffer, and Will Rubin. Ferrigno’s singing voice is lovely. Mr. and Mrs. Darling played by Mimi Meserve and Jeffrey Berry have the humorous opening and touching closing scenes. Their stage relationship is very believable. Laura Kuserk, as the large, lovable Sheepdog Nana makes the most of her creatively costumed role. Amanda W. Panrock is Peter Pan, who is traditionally played by a female. Panrock is full of effervescent personality and does a superior job bringing the innocence, wit, and devilishly boyish charm of Peter Pan to life. Panrock has considerable vocal talent and is a standout. Brian Walsh has a fresh and lovable take on Captain Hook, making the role completely his own. Walsh brings the dandiest Captain Hook to life. His interpretation is bashful and bold, more humorous than menacing. Hook’s band of pirates is a motley bunch of amusement and mayhem. Bawdy and boisterous, Hook and his crew create infectious fun. The Lost Boys are appropriately dirty, varied in size, and full of spit and vinegar. They are an unruly and entirely wonderful bunch. Tiger Lily (Maria Byers) heads up a spritely troupe of Indian maidens. Their dancing is entertaining and impressive. George Mulford as Smee adds humor. Meghan Schulz as Liza glides through the production adding her own touch of music.

This production is full of depth and contains all of the necessary ‘bells’ and whistles. The flying is joyous, the vocals strong, and the energy is engaging. The extravagant sets, authentic costumes, magical flying, Tinker Bell, and fairy dust make the production a treat for the eyes and ears. Children in the audience were quiet, engaged, and laughing out loud. When asked to interact with the story, children of all ages were ready and willing to help. A live pit band enhances the production, though occasionally overpowers the singers and dialogue. With a long first act, at one and a half hours, there was little to no extraneous wiggling and noise by the youngest audience members. Smooth set changes become visual moments, to distract from the work done behind a map of Neverland, while Tinker Bell gives a tour of the island. Families will delight at the high flying and charm presented by the cast and crew of PETER PAN. The holiday season starts early with this sprinkling of fairy dust.

Based on the story by Sir James M. Barrie
Lyrics by Carolyn Leigh
Music by Morris “Moose” Charlap
Additional Lyrics by Betty Comden & Adolph Green
Directed by Theodora K. Psitos
Flying by Foy
October 24 – November 9, 2014
The Players Club of Swarthmore
614 Fairview Avenue
Swarthmore, PA 19081

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