Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up, now playing at the Alley Theatre is at the same time a most sentimental and yet unsentimental look at children and grownups. It is totally engaging despite a run-time of just under three hours that includes two intermissions.
The show runs through October 31. And on that final day - Halloween - the Alley is offering two special attractions. At the 2:30 Sunday October 31 show, kids who show up dressed like a pirate or a fairy will get a treat after the show.
That night - even better for adults, particularly those who don't want to hand out treats at home -- ticket buyers will receive a complimentary drink ticket, which those who are 21 or older will be able to trade in for an alcoholic beverage.
This version of Peter Pan arrives complete with laughter, great characters, adventure, some singing and almost painfully poignant moments. It also has some surprises for those raised on the Mary Martin or Disney-animated versions of J.M. Barrie's story.
The last, surprising (but honest) word uttered in the play induced a gasp from a woman seated two rows behind us.
Peter Pan in any version has never totally avoided the sadness; this one (brought here by Artistic Director Gregory Boyd) addresses it more than the rest. The addition of the Storyteller (John Tyson, who narrates) puts J.M. Barrie on stage and pulls it all together.
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As our reviewer D.L. Groover wrote so eloquently, "the play is stuffed with magic and wonder" in what he also described as "the most satisfying and frightening picture of childhood."
The sets are stunning, the costumes beautiful and the makeup crew clearly had a fun time making up the pirates and lost boys.
And if you already have plans for Halloween, go sooner. There's standard discounting for students with school IDs, and ticket prices start at $21, so this is an affordable adventure for pretty much anyone. (And one that should leave you talking and thinking about it for a while.)
For tickets go to www.alleytheatre.org or call 713-220-5700.