Saturday, December 01, 2007

"Peter Pan" - December 2007

No wasting time here at View From The Stalls - 1st day of December and we're opening the advent calendar, sorting Christmas shopping, and off to see the first of our four Christmas shows this month. "Peter Pan" at the Citizens seemed a good place to start and had the promise of Andrew Clark as Hook (who impressed us as Hamlet.)

Clark duly delivered, and was a suitably villainous nemesis for Peter and managed to elicit spontaneous boos and hisses from the audience (possibly unexpectedly). Robbie Towns gave a very physical performance as Peter, while Helen Mallon's very Glaswegian Wendy provided much of the show's humour. But there were issues with the sound levels and the clarity of some of the dialogue - even in the middle of the stalls. Although this was the first night, it wasn't labeled as a preview, and I'd hope this is addressed as the run progresses.

In a show like this it's often not the performances that make or break it, and while I'd be reluctant to go so far as to call it disappointing, there were certainly a good number of missed opportunities. Much of it was slow paced, particularly in the first act and only really the scenes with Nana the dog (Finn Den Hertog) had the energy to really grab the audience. The energy levels pick up in the second act when Tinkerbell is revived with some audience participation, and it's a bit odd that this non-panto is at it's best when it strays towards pantomime territory. But the writing isn't sufficiently sharp, and the Glasgow references, which always go down well, were too few and far between.

There is much to like here with certain elements very well realised - Tinkerbell is marvellously portrayed as a sparkle of light and in a particularly nice segment is 'moved' from hand to hand between the Lost Boys. The moments when Wendy, Michael and the boys are captured by Hook work well in silhouette (although a little muffled), the 'fly by wire' is very well performed a number of times, and a rendition of "Flower of Scotland" brings much amusement. The set is also very effective.

But other aspects fall short. The Crocodile really didn't work for me, the fencing seemed a little on the tame side, and the 'explosion' was pretty pathetic, while the cannons that dropped from the side of the ship sat unused when they were crying out to fire confetti into the audience.

Waldorf is of the opinion that it suffered from not knowing what it wanted to be - show or pantomime and I'd probably agree. It doesn't have the belly laughs a panto can provide or the ability to capture the children in the audience with a stunningly enthralling story, and I guess I expected a little more from the Citz.

"Peter Pan" runs at the Citizens until 5th January.

9 Heckles

Anonymous said...

It may not have been labelled as a preview but it was labelled as a free Charity performance and was effectively a preview for those who may otherwise have not had the chance to see it.

Waldorf said...

According to The Citz's own blog the charity aspect was due to the performance being in aid of the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice.

We definitely paid for our tickets.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with Waldorf. Although there clearly where some technical hitches (no doubt due to the fact that it was indeed a preview), i thought Peter Pan was a beautiful, fully realised piece of theatre. Clark as Hook was spell-binding, the actors who played the Lost Boys (Fin den Hertog, Tony Fagen and Kieran Lynn) gave fantastically detailed performances, and Town's charisma as Pan was immpossible to resist. The set was stunning, particularly the Darling house, and the lighting design was phenomenal, especially in regards to Tinkerbell. I have little doubt that once this show hits its stride it will captivate and delight audience member of all ages.

Unknown said...

given your recent 'reviews', it would appear that you appear to be exactly what Statler and Waldorf were: a pair of muppets

Statler said...

Anonymous - I agree with many of the positives you mention, and highlighted several of these in the original post, but the show we saw, while enjoyable, fell below its potential. And again, this was a "Charity Gala Performance" and is not described anywhere as a Preview - if it had been, we would probably not have bought tickets for that night and would not have posted a full comment on the production.

James - We never claim to be anything else, and always welcome people leaving their own comments on a show.

Anonymous said...

I cannot comment on the show having yet to see it however, as an avid theatre goer I know that 9 times out of 10 the very first night is normally a preview. Perhaps in future you should check wiht the theatre when you book your tickets, especially if you plan to post a public review of it.

Statler said...

The Citizens is very good at clearly marking any shows which are having a Preview performance in their brochure and on their website, and as we have highlighted before they charge an amazing £3 for these performances. This Gala Performance of Peter Pan could and possibly should have been a Preview - it wasn't.

Waldorf said...

Either Anonymous was right, and the show has now hit its stride, or James is right - and we're muppets.

Take your pick.

The Herald loved it.

Anonymous said...

I've seen Peter Pan at the Citizen's Theatre twice now. Once with an elderly party with whom I am a carer on the gala opening night, and again with my family on New Year's Eve. What I have enjoyed both times was the magic which it seems to capture in the story of Peter Pan. Our elderly party thoroughly enjoyed the performance and it scored well by their standards which can be really very high! The children (5, 7 and 11) that came with us on New Years Eve were more than a little delighted by the spectacle. Far from "lame" the swordfights were thrilling and the subject of much excitement after the show was finished. Captain Hook stole the show for me. He was a charming baddy and very funny. The set and lights etc were also lovely. It was definately better the second time I saw the show and I appreciated the flying a lot more then, which got audible gasps from the audience that made me smile. I think it was a great Chistmas show and I'm glad it doesn't try to hard to be a pantomime like the other shows in Glasgow. Mind you I saw the panto at the Tron too and it was incredibly funny so go see it as well!!!