07 November 2011

Second star to the right, straight on 'till morning

Driving towards Ortigas, I tried to weigh in my feelings about everything. I was very excited, of course, but at the same time worried. I feared that all throughout the play, I'd be sinking in my seat, trying to hide the strain in my heart for not being up there. That's all I've ever wanted, after all. To be on the other side of it all.

While some kids would love princess stories like that of Cinderella and Snow White, I, on the other hand, have always loved Peter Pan. And it's not just the flying, the mermaids, or the idea of never growing up; it's Peter, it's Tinkerbell, it's Captain Hook. And I don't just mean the characters in the story, it's everything they represent. Of course, this is not something you'd get from the Disney version, so I suggest that to fully understand Neverland, you must read the book. J.M. Barrie has magic in his writing that will make you feel a sort of a happy loneliness and nostalgia.

The show date, October 23, 2011 at 3 o'clock pm. I went with my cousin Isabelle. We sat at the front-most row, left side of the Orchestra. It wasn't the best seat, I realized. Being on the side, I might have had a little case of stiff neck afterwards. But never mind that, for the show was absolutely wonderful.

Pirates greeting guests at the Meralco Theater lobby

To be able to wrap up this entry in a good manner, I'll start commenting first on the things I didn't really like about the show. I noticed a lot of stuff, and most of them has something to do with the casting. Yes, I had some trouble dealing with it. For someone who fully understands the story, casting, second to the plot, is everything.

The show was opened by a mysterious old lady, who narrated the story. Being the narrator, she was present in most parts, and I found that a little disturbing. She'd pop out of nowhere, sit beside people talking, hover in some scenes, like a creepy eavesdropper. I understand that the whole idea is that she's walking us, the audience, through the story. I appreciate that, but I just think there could have been a more gracious way to do it. I found her a bit awkward, and honestly, she creeped me out. And for a moment I felt like I was in Cats; she looked like a Jennicle.

Another thing that concerned me was Pinky Marquez playing the role of Mrs. Darling. And this I say with all due respect to the veteran actress, but she's far too old to play someone who has a 4 year old son (Michael). And Wendy is barely a teenager. She also failed to portray Mrs. Darling in all that she was supposed to be. Ever the dearest, Mrs. Darling is a representation of a perfect English woman--gentle, kind and elegant. Though I cannot judge Ms. Marquez on the levels of elegance, since it's a given, nor of kindness since it's woven with her role as a mother, but it's the nonchalance that is present in all portrayals of Mary Darling, as described in the book, that I didn't see. As an audience she didn't captivate me with gentleness that should have been present in her voice--in song or not.

Last, and this one I had the biggest problem dealing with for the rest of the show, was Wendy, played by Cara Barredo (based on my research). I admit I was hugely disappointed that I didn't catch Tippy Dos Santos instead, but that would have been fine if Cara was as endearing. I am not such a huge fan of Tippy's acting, there's huge room for improvement, but Cara was the exact opposite. She was over-the-top.

Same as with Mrs. Darling, I was looking for Wendy's motherly attributes--gentle and simply lovable. And I did not find those as well. I wanted a sweet voice to sing me the beautiful ballad Just Beyond the Stars, but instead I got something I could have done without--another belting session. Cara's voice was beautiful-powerful, yes, I give her that. But I was looking for beautiful-sweet. I was looking for Wendy. I was failed. And it's not just in the singing. Even in delivering her lines, I felt like she was screaming at me. There was no voice modulation; all lines were thrown in the same high-pitched, ordering manner. The fact that they were all wearing lapels so close to their mouths didn't help, either. Every time Cara spoke in that badly imitated English accent, I feel my eardrums shattering in my ear.

Standing with Sam Concepcion, no chemistry was formed either. It just wasn't there. I felt a little bad for the kid, though. Ladies behind me were expressing dislike for her, as well. What happened here, Repertory?

Photo grabbed from Google

Sam Concepcion as Peter Pan
Aside from these issues, the play over-all was still amazing. Sam Concepcion, who played Peter Pan did a great job on the role, though at first I thought he was too old (at 19) for the role, and too muscular, for that matter. But nevertheless, I still would have given a him a congratulatory pat on the back, and maybe a peck on the cheek. I was surprised he's cute pala! Haha.

And of course, the best thing about the show, the production design. The costumes were well-designed, and the set, obviously given much thought of. The transition of scenes, in particular, was the most enjoyable part for me. How they managed to bring Neverland into the theater is beyond me. One moment we're in the Burrow, and the next we're at the Jolly Roger! Truly impressive. And the lighting had a lot to do with setting the mood for every scene, of course. And I had no problem with it, whatsoever. The play of lights gave the right treatment to each scene, and the orchestra music was perfect.

I also have a few favorite scenes, but since this post has gone too long already, I'll just mention the Pirates and the Indians, because a mention is well-deserved with their amazing production numbers. And my favorite song would have to be Neverland, while the kids travel from London to Neverland among the stars and the moon.

Curtain call. Have I mentioned the Lost Boys are all so cute? :)

Peter Pan was well worth every penny. :)


  1. this made me want to read JM Barrie's book! ;) Now on my book wishlist. Thanks for the good review. Made me kind of envious that I don't write reviews for the shows/productions that I watched recently. :) Encouraged me to do so as well! :) Thanks Nicole!

  2. Yes! Do read it! It's an easy read, but you'll appreciate JM Barrie's writing style. And thanks! I'm no critique, I just write what I observe. See you around Eula! :)