Peter Pan at The Arden – Kid’s Theater Review

At it’s core, The Arden’s Peter Pan is an elaborate game of playing house.   Just below the surface though, and something especially noticeable in their miraculous production of Douglas Irving’s adaption, are larger truths about what it means to be young, joyful and free – three things best experienced before the suffocating adult burdens of beards and offices set in.

As parents, we pass on a lot to our children but one of the most important things we give them is the freedom to use their imagination, to dream.  In a moment that brought more than one tear to my eye, this is precisely what the grown-up Wendy does. Peter flies through Wendy’s open window, many years having passed since their 1st escapade, only to find her older, with responsibilities that prohibit her from ever flying back to Neverland.  As fun and funny as the play is for youngsters, it’s scenes like this that make the show a touching event for Moms and Dads – allowing us older folks to escape our beards and offices for a couple hours and fly once more.

The Arden’s Peter Pan is a magical play the entire family will enjoy and cherish.  Tickets to the show would make an outstanding, last minute holiday gift for a young child and their young-at-heart parents.

Bonus thoughts on the play:
My mom and dad also saw the show, having taken the Bear and my two 11-year old nieces a few days prior. My mother was hesitant to take 11-year-olds to see this play, fearing that girls of such an age would have outgrown the story and think it babyish.  Holy cow, was she wrong.  All three girls came away as amazed as the Mrs. and I.   Despite being profoundly different from the Disney film, the older girls found The Arden’s Peter Pan to be “extremely creative” and “awesome”.  And you know what, for all the fancy words I could use, none would do the play as much justice as those.

The excitement generated by the Arden’s Peter Pan was palatable, so much so that one of my nieces, a girl who, like many at her age, has abandoned imaginative play for trendy fashion, manufactured corporate pop music and a cell phone, immediately asked to re-watch Peter Pan – the film – upon leaving the theater. For her, the Arden’s reinvention of Barrie’s classic tale reignited a tiny flame of innocence, and reconstructed, if only for a short time, a moment in the child’s life where imagination reigned supreme and the pretense of what is or isn’t cool mattered not.

That being said, Peter Pan at the Arden, with it’s eye-popping vision of Neverland as an elaborate garage and the hilarious, found-object Lost Boys, is undeniably cool.

Peter Pan runs through January 24, 2010.  For tickets (including several 2 for 1 ticket deal dates and a performance featuring Peter Pan in American Sign Language – see OWTK’s review of the ASL performance of the Arden’s Frog & Toad last season) and more information on this and other shows at The Arden Theatre, click here.

*The Arden Theater graciously provided tickets for both the Mrs. and I to see Peter Pan. The opinions expressed above are unbiased and true – no arm twisting took place in the review process.

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