Saturday, December 6, 2014

Peter Pan

I watched the NBC live musical this week and couldn't really get into it. I've never read J. M. Barrie's play, only his novel, and I think I would have preferred a play instead of a musical. It felt like way too many songs (and I've heard they added songs to the original musical), and with the commercials stretching it out to 3 hours, I got so bored. I only really liked two of the songs, the lullaby sung by Mrs. Darling and the True Blood Brothers song, carefully reworked to be less offensive to Native Americans. (Also loved the actress playing Tiger Lily.) I thought the show was going well once Peter taught the kids to fly and they went to Neverland, but instead all the action shut down for a scene on the Jolly Roger.

Captain Hook was so flat and lifeless, and he ruined all the scenes with the pirates. They should have cast someone else, possible the guy who was playing both Mr. Darling and Smee. I should have turned the whole show off, but I wanted to see how faithful the musical was to the novel. So I kept it on and fast forwarded some stuff. The musical did follow the book pretty closely, even featuring the epilogue where Peter Pan returns to the grown up Wendy and steals her daughter away. However they continue to act like Peter's a nice person, when in the book, Barrie clearly tells us that Peter doesn't care about the Darling children and has on occasion killed his own Lost Boys. He's a nasty selfish person, and I hate the way he boasts to Hook that he's pure joy and youth. If that's youth, I don't want it.

The source material is really messed up about mothers and gender roles and love and forgetfulness. The musical can't overcome this basic creepiness in Barrie's tale, and adding extra length to it didn't help.

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