Billy Harrigan Tighe was a perfect J.M Barrie, frustrated, then inspired, awakened to his inner child and the power of imagination. Barrie’s “inner Captain Hook,” powerfully portrayed by Matthew Quinn (standing in on this performance for John Davidson) challenged Barrie to find the courage to write his own story. Lael Van Keuren was lovely, engaging and touching as the mother Sylvia Llewelyn Davies. All had exceptional singing voices. Matt Wolpe as Mr. Cromer was particularly funny.
The boys were wonderful — especially Connor Jameson Casey as Peter, a role that demands more than the boyish cuteness and energy of his charming brothers, including struggles with what it means to grow up and face life’s troubling realities. There is quite a list of boys circulating through the child roles; check the sign on the way in to see who’s on for your performance. We also saw Colin Wheeler, Wyatt Cirbus and Tyler Patrick Hennessy — adorable and talented, all.
Of course, the staging/lighting/projections/effects were impressive. Of particular note was the storm/pirate-ship production numbers of “Hook” and “Stronger” that truly “shivered our timbers.” Also, the artistic shadow dance of J.M. and Sylvia was beautiful.
This is a show for all ages — about growing up but not letting it get you down — maybe helping us face life with the imagination and creativity and child’s-eyes that can ease life’s inevitable losses.
Finding Neverland continues at Wharton Center’s Great Hall through December 17.