Everyone experiences the feeling. Wouldn’t it be nice to be a kid again? Attending the Cape Cod Theatre Company’s production of “Peter Pan and Wendy” brings out the child in all of us. By sheer osmosis, surrounded by that special sound of laughter and joy of children in the audience, you’ll feel the years just melt away. The power of live theater is alive and well at this home of the Harwich Junior Theatre.
Peter and the lost boys, Wendy and her two brothers, Captain Hook and his band of pirates, Tinkerbell, Tiger Lily and even Nana the dog are all here! The production taps into your imagination and just like a good book, you are transported to Neverland on the journey of a lifetime.
It aptly begins with a woman (a luminous Audrey Erickson) reading the story to her children; the lights go up and the adventure is underway. Director James P. Byrne is the mastermind behind the imaginative lighting design and the inventive set where characters enter and exit in rapid-fire fashion. Byrne also takes the stage as the dastardly Captain Hook.
Jack Kwaak embodies Peter Pan. The young actor bounds and crows right into your heart. A charming Grace Barrett is an impressive Wendy, and Henry Cramer and Charles Barrett embrace their roles as Michael and John. The trio brings those familiar characters to life.
Steph DeFerie does so much with her portrayal of Nana and the crocodile with help from the incredible costumes and makeup. Both were crowd-pleasers. Kristin Stewart morphs from Mrs. Darling in London to Smee in Neverland. Stewart is marvelously expressive in both roles.
Audrey Pugh is delightful as Tinkerbell. With nary a sound, Tink explains and reveals her thoughts in a hilarious and dramatic manner. Calliope Rae Pina Parker is a lithe and compelling Tiger Lily and Kate Paxton is a comical Never Bird. A strong ensemble of both children and adults (Kevin Bourget, Tyler Brackett, Cole Strzepek, Tess O’Leary, Erin O’Sullivan, Colin Bourget, Ed Donovan, Olivia Amicangioli, Nick Stewart, Fionn Pina Parker, Karen Jessica Stewart, Sage Barnes, Xevi Pina Parker, Lila Keeney, Jedaya Miller and Finola Weller Baldet) bring personality to each of the lost boys, the pirates and the warriors. There’s a lot of comings and goings, and all these actors never missed a cue. My mother who accompanied me to the show was very impressed with their dedication and the time they must have put in at rehearsals.
Kudos to the equally dedicated production team. Diana Milkey’s detailed costumes (Fran Lautenberger for the crocodile costume); J Hagenbuckle’s creative sound design and Grace Fernandes’s stunning make-up design all brought a level of enchantment to the show. Matthew Kohler, HJT’s resident technical director, comes through once again. Jack Coughlin, stage manager; Charlie Pugh, lighting board operator; Abby Feinstein, sound board with Peter Campbell and Rachel Simmons on crew all added to the production with their contributions.
Even at two hours, with an intermission, this show will be an easy sit (wiggle back in your seats!) for even the youngest in your family. It’s action-packed and so fun, and funny from beginning to end. The theater’s artistic director Nina Schuessler was beaming as if she knew a secret and was ready to share it as she introduced the show to the sold out house. You will too as you tell all your friends about “Peter Pan and Wendy;” it’s the perfect family outing; everyone will enjoy this show.
"Peter Pan and Wendy"
At the Cape Cod Theatre Company, home of the Harwich Junior Theatre
Through July 27, Tuesdays to Thursdays at 7 p.m., Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 4 p.m.
Information and reservations: 508-432-2002 ext. 2, www.capecodtheatrecompany.org