Lost Boys Find Home at the Palace

J.M. Barrie’s story of the Lost Boys and pirates who inhabit the magical world of Neverland is one which is familiar to almost everyone. It has taken the form of novel, movie and play. It was also the inspiration for Michael Jackson’s strange home and amusement park. Last Thursday, Friday and Saturday, The Masque & Triangle Student Theatre’s production of Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up brought the familiar childhood story to the Palace Theatre.

At Friday’s show, the Palace was packed. Even arriving twenty minutes early, I found that there were already plenty of people filling the first few rows. The audience was a mix of students and older adults, presumably parents and local residents.

A surprising amount of action was packed on to the small stage at the Palace. “The fight scenes were really well choreographed,” first-year Onnalee Kelley, who enjoyed the show, said. During the pivotal battle between the pirates and Lost Boys, the cast utilized all the space available to them, creating a scene that made the ensemble seem much larger than it actually was. Before seeing the show, I had been curious about how John, Michael and Wendy would fly. This was solved by the use of trampolines placed in several key places on the stage and resulted in a comedic and enjoyable scene.

Sophomore Chelsea Hoffman, who played Peter Pan, did an excellent job of capturing the spirit of the boy who only wants to stay young and have fun. Hoffman seemed comfortable playing a boy and really got into Peter’s iconic crowing. Sophomore Becca McArthur was also excellent in her role as Wendy, adding the gentle femininity to the Lost Boys’ lives. All of the actors did well in their roles and seemed to embrace the opportunity to relive childhood games of dress up and sword fighting. But it was the Lost Boys who stole the show whenever they added their confusion to the action. Sophomore Rachel Harmon, who played Tootles, was particularly funny, always speaking with a level of melancholy that brought forth a lot of laughter from the audience.

Although all of the actors were personable and there were many laughs throughout the show, the long pauses between scenes distracted from the flow of the production. Scene changes that lasted several minutes allowed the audience to start conversing with each other, breaking the illusion of theatre that is important in keeping the audience entertained.

One clever aspect of the show was the choice of the Lost Boys’ costumes. Each of the boys was dressed as a nursery toy. These included Raggedy Ann and Andy, a teddy bear, a toy soldier and a rubber duck. This idea reminded audience members that “Peter Pan” is really about imagination and not letting the fantasy of youth die as one ages. Unfortunately, several people sitting around me were confused by the costumes and only understood after they had been explained several times.

The chemistry of all of the actors was evident. They seemed to truly be enjoying themselves on stage, which made it easy for the audience to enjoy themselves, as well.

“I enjoyed the company of the cast,” Casey Macauley said, a first-year who played the Second Twin, one of the Lost Boys. “When it was crunch time, everyone remained positive and it made a potentially stressful time easy to get through.”