Wendy Darling & Peter Pan

Wendy Darling (Eliza Shea) and Peter Pan (Caleb Donahue) marvel at nature alongside a tree-lined pond. Original photo by Jeremy Amar.

By Andrew Andrews

When you were a kid, were you enchanted by the story of Peter Pan? Did you wish you could fly to a land where you’d never grow up? Or did the thought of pirates and lost boys and a crocodile with a clock in its belly make you glad for the safety of home?

This summer, Piper Theater Company drums up those fantasies of our youth with Wendy Darling & Peter Pan, adapted from the writings of J. M. Barrie by artistic director John P. McEneny and performed live under the stars (at least as many as the light-polluted sky over Brooklyn will allow) outside the Old Stone House of Washington Park in Park Slope, just a few blocks from the F, G and R trains at 4th Avenue & 9th Street.

Upon a raised stage with a dynamic set (Dallas Estes) of constantly-reconfigured white crates—reminiscent of the building blocks you might have played with as a child while watching cartoons on TV—the characters of Wendy (Eliza Shea) and her brothers Michael (Connor Delves) and John (Eiko Kawashima) come to life: their doting mother (Meredith Hackett) and quirky father (Justin Ivan Brown), dalmatian Nana (Kristian Sorensen) and, of course, the visiting strangers Peter Pan (Caleb Donahue) and Tinkerbell (Eva Sheehy-Moss).

Rounding out the cast, Lily Ali-Oshatz, Mickey Zale Heller and Aaron Novak double up as lost boys, pirates and Captain Hook, who, “like all of the greatest pirates, has a touch of the feminine in him.”

More than the revival of long-forgotten memories, what surprised us was the end of the story—and in two ways.

Firstly, because the Old Stone House itself actually becomes a character in the play, thanks to a clever bit of gigantic puppetry from designer Cody Grey.

Secondly, because after the Darling children return from Neverland, the book doesn’t exactly close. Instead, we get a taste of When Wendy Grew Up–An Afterthought, Barrie’s follow-up to The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up (AKA the original Peter Pan tale).

Now that you’re older, you’ll pick up on some nuances that likely never registered when the story regaled you in your youth, as does the famous picture that children see as dolphins but grown-ups see as an intertwined couple. Not the least of these nuances is Tink’s rampant jealousy over Wendy Myra Angela Darling!

But, being the same story, it’s still not only safe for the entire family to attend, but actually designed as such, with moments of audience participation for the kiddies and a welcoming location to spread out a blanket, bring some snacks (or purchase them at the concession stand!) and make some family memories that you and your little ones can carry with you for the rest of your lives.

So check it out, then come back and let us know how this rendition of Wendy’s story made you feel!

Whether it resurfaced cherished memories that were buried by the stresses of responsible adulthood in the city that never sleeps, or, like Wendy, you’ve lost your ability to fly, your reviews help others decide whether they should attend, and your ratings help us help you find future events (indoors or out!) you’ll surely love!

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Andrew Andrews attended Wendy Darling & Peter Pan at Old Stone House in Brooklyn on Friday, July 13, 2018 @ 8:00pm to write this review.

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