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Colorado Ballet's Peter Pan - Delightful Characters - Delightful Dance
The Colorado Ballet opened it's new production of "Peter Pan" to a most appreciative audience, ranging from kids (some in their own Peter Pan and Tinker Bell costumes) to Grandparents, on Friday February 24th to a close to sold out Ellie Calkins Opera House. The ballet is filled with wonderfully endearing, scary, authoritative, loving, and temper-tantrum throwing characters, and Artistic Director Gill Boggs found everyone of them in his dancers, and maybe added a few more. That "few more" included a monstrous scaly crocodile that climbed out of, and back into the Orchestra Pit (while that orchestra never missed a beat), complete with a big clicking-clucking clock inside of it that scared the living bejesus out of Captain Hook (Alexei Tyukov). Tyukov - who doubled as Wendy's Father, George Darling - found a delightful Hook character that varied from menacing to fey, to want-to-be lover (of both Wendy as danced by Shelby Dyer and Indian Princess "Tiger Lilly" as danced by Asuka Sasaki). To some extent Tyukov's "Hook" seemed to result in part from him watching every Pirates of the Caribbean movie Johnny Depp made, as well as Depp's character in Alice and Wonderland.
Adam Still's "Peter Pan" was delightfully puckish and prankish at times, then switched to "in-charge" authority, then to serious concern over a love quadrangle he was creating between himself, Wendy, Tinker Bell (Sharon Wehner), and Tiger Lilly. Then, just when you thought he was really THE one, he became the boy he really was. Mother Mary Darling's (Maria Mosina) theft of Still's "shadow" was done wonderfully, as was that shadow's reappearance from under Wendy's bed, as danced by Gregory DeSantis.
Shelby Dyer's "Wendy" character was marvelously varied between mischief maker and make believe sword fighter, to almost grown up mother of the Lost Boys and Peter Pan. Her bothers John (Sean Omandam) and Michael (Casey Dalton) were delightfully rambunctious, clumsy in learning to fly, and then homesick when victorious - especially Dalton and his teddy bear!!!! Naomi Hergott was a deliciously believable "Nana the Dog," loving the Darling children and policing the house as well.
Sharon Wehner was a precious and pecocsious "Tinker Bell," complete with jealous rages, temper tantrums, tongue-out insults to Peter Pan, and finally loving him enough to help defeat Hook and his Pirates. Asuka Sasaki was endearing as "Tiger Lilly," especially in "giving" Peter Pan back to Wendy. Her dance movement was amazing, causing one audience member (who knows) to opine that her "core is so strong she can do almost anything."
All the Pirates and Lost Boys were believable characters. Especially Jesse Marks as "Smee," who got bounced around in bumptious inebriation by Hook, his crew, and Peter.
As impressive as the characters were the technical parts of the production were just as amazing. Peter, Tinker Bell, Wendy, George, and Michael were flown flawlessly on multiple wires over great ranges, and not once was a "hook-up" detectable, nor did anyone of them take time away from the dance. The sets were amazing even when somewhat abstracted, and were moved seamlessly by techies and cast, so ships suddenly morphed into the home of the Lost Boys.
And all of the above was beautifully nested within the music of Philip Feeney and the choreography of Michael Pink. The music was played cleanly by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra as directed by Adam Flatt. Pink's choreography provided surprisingly engaging dances. Standouts included Mother/Father duets by Tyukov and Mosina, and any number of duets between Still and Dyer, Sakasi, and Wehner. Stunning to me were the one-leg-out variations in the strides the Indian Women used to enter and exit, and Wehner's costume shaking tempter tantrums. The Lost Boys ensembles were entertaining and the drunken Pirate brawl that used "Smee" as a virtual football was hysterical, virtuouso, and just the right length.
Neither you, nor your children can go wrong by seeing this production of Peter Pan. You have until March 4th. Go to www.coloradoballet.org/performances/seasonproductions for dates, times, and prices.
Donald K. Atwood
Photo by Terry Shapiro
© Copyright World Dance Reviews 2012