Last night, December 4th, 2014, NBC aired its second live show. As you remember last year, almost to the date, Carrie Underwood stared as Fraulein Maria in The Sound of Music Live! And there were alto of mixed reviews regarding Underwood's performance. This year Peter Pan Live! starred GIRLS' Allison Williams as Peter Pan and Christopher Walken as Captain Hook. And again, mixed reviews. What fly and what sank last night?
Allison Williams' performance as Peter Pan last night was really good, for someone who's career is focused in film. She had the mannerisms of a young boy who doesn't want to do anything but play and be the leader. She needs to remember that with theatre, even when there are camera's, someone will always be watching you. There were some parts where I thought I saw her drop character, just a little. But when the camera was focused on her, she lit up. She was no Cathy Rigby, but she definitely stood out. The flying was a little choppy, but it still had me awing like a little girl. I was glued to the TV last night!
Christopher Walken, oh Walken. More light Walk and Talk through your songs. I was very disappointed in the choice of who to play Captain Hook. I grew up watching the Cathy Rigby VHS performance and the actor who played Captain Hook was a genius! He was charismatic and lively, funny and snarky. While Walken looked like he had been drugged and was forced to learn a dance during this performance. And what was his accent? And let's not forget those painful 60 seconds where he couldn't remember his lines and just began laughing. Yes Christopher Walken is a huge hollywood name that will entice viewers to tune in, but he just was not the best choice for this part.
Christian Borle! Mr. Smee. He was amazing. He really was the one that kept all of the pirate scenes alive. He also played the father, which he did well in. His characters were definitely contrasting ones. I've always enjoyed watching Borle, whether in Legally Blonde the Muscial, or even in the The Sound of Music Live! Of course he is also in the T.V series, Smash, but I have yet to get into that show. Smee is always a fan favorite and I think that if casting did one thing right it was Borle as Mr. Smee.
Taylor Louderman as Wendy. At first, I was not sure if I would like her. My first reactions were, "Oh! She looks so much older!" But of course they had to cast someone older to fully understand the character and to sing her songs with such depth. I believe that Louderman did an excellent job playing Wendy. She was full of youth and she she was child like, but she still wanted to behave like a grown-up. She mimicked her mother's actions and tried to be a mother to all those lost boys at such a young age. Louderman sang beautifully. I did enjoy Wendy's new song, "Only Pretend" and Louderman did a fantastic job with it.
As for the whole production itself, I thought it was well put together. The dance routines were great, even though Walken wasn't. The chorus numbers sounded amazing! I loved the camera angles when flying in and out of London. One of my favorite parts was the transition made between young Wendy and older Wendy. I thought that was beautiful. The whole cast did an amazing job and should be proud of last night's performance.
There a new songs and updated lyrics. The set was pretty cool. They had a rotating stage that went from outside, above Pan's hideout into the hideout complete with a spiral stair case and slide entrance. I have always loved the map being the stage floor and I am glad the scenic designer kept that concept. The mermaid's lagoon was eerie and the pirate ship was pirate-y and full of scoundrels. So if you're looking for a family show and something that will take you back to your childhood, watch Peter Pan Live!