Monday, December 8, 2014
Douglas Messerli | "Walkin' the Plank" (on Peter Pan Live!)
walkin’ the plank
By Douglas Messerli
Irene Mecchi (teleplay, based on the play by J. M. Barrie), Carolyn Leigh, Betty Comden and Adolph Green (lyrics, with additional lyrics by Amanda Green), Moose Charlap and Jule Styne (music) Peter Pan Live! / on N.B.C. (the National Broadcasting Company), December 4, 2014
Last night I sat through the entire three hours of slickly-conceived advertisements punctuated with brief scenes from the ongoing and ongoing musical Peter Pan flashed in between. It’s cruel, I suspect, to attempt to redact a review of a television musical hiding out in the morass of Christmas jingles rung out to encourage its audience ring-up a big profit for the impresarios of this fragile fairy-tale, but it’s what I pay myself to do!
From what I can remember arising out of that fog of blurry commercial daydreams was a very pleasant group of young men and women—pretending to be at least two decades younger than the dates on their driving licenses—eagerly trying to engage any audience they might have imagined as having tuned in. I can’t believe that many children actually lasted it out until 11:00. And I gather from the media reports that a great part of this work’s supposed observers fell away as the hours ticked along with Captain Hook’s vengeful croc.
Alas, if even I couldn’t believe, I suspect poor Tinkerbell did not truly survive. It’s hard to get a T.V. cam to clap along, let alone to believe in the goings on it was so faithfully recording. Let me begin by simply asserting that everyone in Neverland (and even those back home nursing Nana) are obviously talented folk, with nice personalities, good looks, and very pleasant voices. The former school boys and Indian bucks could even dance—quite marvelously at moments!
Allison Williams has a very lovely voice which pertly warbled out Pan’s standards, “I’ll Never Grow Up” and “I Gotta Crow.” And Taylor Louderman as Wendy sweetly sang her brothers and all the lost boys to sleep. I am sure that, if she is already a mother, she is a very nice one, or if she isn’t a mother, she someday will become what the character so passionately longed to be.
Los Angeles, December 6, 2014