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The Adventures of Peter Pan ~ Synetic Theater

Jordan Wright
October 24, 2017
Special to The Alexandria Times

Kathy Gordon as Wendy Darling and Alex Mills as Peter Pan Photographer: Johnny Shryock

Kathy Gordon as Wendy Darling and Alex Mills as Peter Pan ~ Photographer: Johnny Shryock

Despite current accepted psychology ascribing ‘Peter Pan’ as a term for a man who refuses to accept adult responsibilities, we love this familiar tale of an English family of three children who fly off to a fantasy world where Peter and the fairy princess Tinkerbell reside in Neverland – a place of rip-roaring adventure populated by dastardly pirates, beautiful mermaids and motherless boys.  Veteran of numerous Synetic productions, the chameleonic actor, Alex Mills, plays Peter to Ana Tsikurishvili’s lovable Tinkerbell. Ryan Sellers, who recently gave a formidable performance in Synetic’s The Mark of Cain plays Hook with panache satirizing Trump when he’s threatening the boys.  Zana Gankhuyag is Peter’s mute Shadow – a fully developed role that shows off Gankhuyag’s incredible physicality.

Director Paata Tsikurishvili conceives Peter as a symbol for man’s desire to stave off aging.  As he points out in the Playbill, “Everyone from the characters in Greek mythology to the Knights of the Round Table to Indiana Jones – they have all sought the kind of immortality which Peter Pan so effortlessly and carelessly displays and takes for granted in his playful rejection of the real world.”  Echoing that theory, the play opens with a dark scene in the graveyard where Peter mourns the death of his sister.  Thankfully, we needn’t dwell on a deeper meaning to revel this swashbuckling tale of an adventurous lad and his followers.

Ryan Sellers (Captain Hook), Tori Bertocci (Starkey), Nathan Weinberger (Smee - top right) ~ Photographer: Johnny Shryock

Ryan Sellers (Captain Hook), Tori Bertocci (Starkey), Nathan Weinberger (Smee – top right) ~ Photographer: Johnny Shryock

When Peter takes the Darling children the island of Neverland, Wendy (Kathy Gordon) becomes mother to Peter’s crew of Lost Boys who ride unicycles animal heads.  Her brothers, Michael (Scott Whalen) and John (Thomas Beheler), join the motley group in their fight against the evil Captain Hook and his band of ne’er-do-wells.  Nathan Weinberger plays Smee with a comically distended belly wrapped in stripes.  Smee’s explanation for Peter’s eternal youth, “a healthy diet and yoga.” Peter’s explanation for his youthfulness, “Worrying takes the fun out of everything!”  Sage advice.

Kathy Gordon as Wendy Darling and Ryan Sellers as Captain Hook ~ Photographer: Johnny Shryock

Kathy Gordon as Wendy Darling and Ryan Sellers as Captain Hook ~ Photographer: Johnny Shryock

As you’d expect Choreographer Irina Tsikurishvili gives the troupe plenty to work with plunging us headlong into a fantasy world filled with high-flying acrobatics and crackling good swordfights masterfully co-choreographed by Vato Tsikurishvili.  (Yes, it’s a family affair.)  She aims to please with a rousing, River Dance style Irish reel to celebrate Wendy’s arrival, another from the Roaring 20’s and a dance for the pirate’s duel with Peter and his Shadow.

Fabulous costumes, especially Tinkerbell’s multi-colored LED lit fairy frock including glittery swimsuits on androgynous mermaids, by Kendra Rai.  Colorful dialogue from Captain Hook’s smarmy crew will have your kids talking like a pirate is by the play’s adaptor, Ed Monk.  My 8-year old seat neighbor was blown away by the spectacular swordplay.

Lost Kids Dancing (from left to right) Thomas Beheler (John Darling), Scott Whalen (Michael Darling), Nate Shelton (Nibs), Anna Lynch (Slightly) ~ Photographer: Johnny Shryock

Lost Kids Dancing (from left to right) Thomas Beheler (John Darling), Scott Whalen (Michael Darling), Nate Shelton (Nibs), Anna Lynch (Slightly) ~ Photographer: Johnny Shryock

Highly recommended for all ages.

Through November 19th at Synetic Theater, 1800 South Bell Street, Arlington in Crystal City.  For tickets and information call 1 800 494-8497 or visit www.synetictheater.org.

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