The prestigious Artscape Theatre Centre and illustrious Cape Town City Ballet are engaging in another magical pas de deux with a charming adaptation of a children’s story that has captivated audiences, young and old alike, for over a century with its memorable characters and colourful worlds.
Since its birth in 1904, by enigmatic Scottish dramatist J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan has experienced a prolific career, gracing countless stages with fantastical adaptations, bewitching audiences in numerous on-screen versions and carving its thrilling journey across a number of publications.
Robin Van Wyk, Cape Town City Ballet’s award-winning choreographer, has taken a turn at reimagining this timeless classic, and not surprisingly, is again dazzling eager audiences with his carefully crafted and beautifully streamlined interpretation.
Animated and delectably charismatic, Martin Milner makes for a lively narrator in a top hat and cotton candy pink waistcoat. He quickly captures the audiences attention (and affection) with his buoyant charm, zippy sense of humour and compelling introduction to the story and main characters. We encounter Martin a number of times throughout the evening as he guides the audience through the story with wildly entertaining commentary and explanations of the ensuing acts.
Each act is meticulously crafted to maintain focus on the dancing and the unforgettable story of the boy who won’t grow up, his mischievous fairy sidekick, and their daring adventures into an enchanting world of mermaid lagoons, Red Indian villages, tree houses inhabited by Lost Boys and a pirate ship stalked by a curiously flamboyant crocodile.
The dancing is evocative, allowing the production to unfold as a spirited pantomime. Utterances are limited to savage grunts and howling by Captain Hook’s crew of buccaneers and brigands, and the delightful laughter of fairies and sea sprites, played by adorable young dancers from various ballet studios around the Western Cape.
Sensational dancing, a scintillating score by legendary Russian composer Tchaikovsky, and exquisitely designed costumes come together beautifully to evoke the trademark youthful exuberance of J. M. Barrie and keep the unforgettable tale of Peter Pan and Tinkerbell, and the wonderfully colourful world of Neverland, alive.
At the final curtain drop there is a sudden flurry of ebullient chatter amongst the audience. Children tug on their parents’ sleeves and attempt to mimic the moves of some of the dancers, while the adults linger, perhaps hoping to hang onto the spellbinding energy for a moment longer.
The charm of Peter Pan and Tinkerbell has once again proven irresistible, and luckily this time it is just in time for the holiday season.
Peter Pan and Tinkerbell runs at the Artscape Theatre, Cape Town until 8 January 2017.