The British Flag and the flag of post colonial India are part of the many projections and elaborate shadow puppet effects in this imaginative production. I encourage all to read Dr. Jyotsna G. Singh's informative program notes. They also explain why the "pirates" are interpreted as a gang of funny, rowdy, rough English women, led by the deliciously vicious Captain Hook, Jacqueline Wheeler.
Peter Pan (Joshua Whitson) has the right blend of boyish charm and hero quality as he flies and flips on the elaborate flying system. Wendy (Whitney Bunn) is a demure adventurer, playing "mother" to the lost boys and displaying that hint of maturity that tells us she can't stay in Neverland forever. Hayley Tutt brings Tinkerbell to life with a lighted puppet, a fun whistle-voice, and a lot of "attitude." The MSU Bhangra Dance Team (playing the "Indians") was a big hit with their flashy dances and costumes.
I was impressed that the cast made a big effort to cater to children, inviting them on stage to play games and watch magic before the show, and also appeared in the hallway to meet and greet after the show. The only kid-unfriendly part was an extended, artistic, pantomime introductory section that was maybe meant to orient everyone to the exotic setting, but evoked a fidgety when-are-they-going-to-start-TALKing reaction from my 5, almost 6 and 8 year olds.
It was hard to tell where the "media" (Alison Dobbins) ended and the "lighting" (Shannon Schweitzer) began, but both/all were wonderful, and turned the minimal, physical set into a myriad of magical scenes. I'm sure Kirk Domer, scenic designer was part of that mix, too. The 14-piece orchestra, under the direction of Dave Wendelberger, was unseen, but did a beautiful job from wherever they were sequestered.
This culturally and physically "uplifting" Peter Pan continues through April 20 at the Pasant Theatre in the Wharton Center.Director Pre-Show Discussion April 13, 2014 at 1:15 PMPost-Show Discussion April 17, 2014 (following the Performance)http://theatre.msu.edu/