Children’s theatre: Firebird Theatre’s presentation of Peter Pan

By Katherine Nettles

Peter Pan flew into town last weekend and captured the hearts of youth and adults alike in the Firebird Theatre production of the classic J.M. Barrie children’s tale. The boy who won’t grow up will stick around for another weekend, flying into nursery windows and playing matinees on Saturday and Sunday, March 9 and 10 at the Queen of All Saints Parish Hall at 3 p.m.

 This children’s theatre, adapted and directed by Firebird member Annie Flora, brings the youthful exuberance of Peter Pan and his lost boys, and the endearing naughtiness of Tinkerbelle to the CB stage along with comedic swordfights, crocodile chases, clever special effects and the sweet innocence of the Darling children. 

Flora’s adaptation of Barrie’s early 20th century work stays faithful to the original script while incorporating some audience interaction and modern humor. This production is Firebird’s largest children’s production yet, with a cast of 18 local kids and adults from both ends of the Gunnison Valley.

Says Flora, “It is so much fun seeing this classic tale that everyone knows brought to life by a cast that personifies the innocence and youthful energy of Peter, the lost boys, and the Darling children. And with local adults playing the pirates, the contrast between being young and growing up is quickly evident, often to comedic effect. I’m confident this show will delight both the young and the young at heart!”

Delight it does, as Maddie Carver exudes the stubborn, but also tender-hearted essence of Pan himself. Wendy, played by Luella Turner, executes the kindness and naïve optimism of a young lady, while also donning the perfect pinafore. The lost boys, played by Tati Collins, Owen White and Penny Garcia, battle it out with panache against Captain Hook (played by David Flora) and his pirate peons (Craig Lamar, William Spicer and Katlian Afton) with some truly enjoyable one-liners, rebuffs and general tomfoolery. Some friendly mermaids, played by Noah Lockman and Eero Riha, also play a key role. Children in the audience will enjoy the invitation to participate vocally in the show, whether giving Wendy advice on how to act like a mother or helping Tink get her groove back when she gets into trouble. 

The show combines an improv-like approach with the well-rehearsed scripts we’ve all come to know in the classic story about growing up and staying young, so anything can happen during any of the show’s productions. Next week a few key roles will even be switched out between actors. Last, the animals really come to life as both Shadow the crocodile who forever craves more Hook, and the Darling family’s dog Nana are played by real humans, Eero Riha and Parker Petito, respectively.

The show will run a final weekend before Pan heads back to Neverland, and tickets are $5 for kids and $10 for adults. Tickets can also be purchased in advance at www.firebirdcb.com/peter-pan! For an added bonus, concessions are available at the show. 

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