Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Peter Pan 360 at the OC Performing Arts Center

If you've never seen a live production of JM Barrie's Peter Pan, on stage, this is the one to see! After successful mountings in London and San Francisco, Peter Pan 360 is here at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

I have seen and been in a fair amount of theater in my life. I do love it and don't get out enough to see live theater so I was really excited when I got invited to attend this current production.

Granted, I've never seen ANY production of Peter Pan, other than the Disney movie version, and I'll admit I was a little skeptical about this particular production, but man was I wrong. Wrong with a capital WRONG!

The crocodile and the 360 screeen

The 360 in this particular production refers to the world's first 360-degree CGI theater set. You can see a promotional video clip of the production on the website, but it does not even come close to doing it justice.

I'm not one who generally poo-poos technology but for some reason I wasn't so sure this was going to look cool. That it would belittle the actors' performances in some way. I didn't want the star of the show to be a 360 screen just for flying sequences.

Well, like I said I was totally wrong. It wasn't that at all and the play was really brilliantly acted, directed and staged. The 360 CGI screen was pretty cool and definitely added to the experience as a whole.
Johanthan Hyde at Captain Hook
The venue itself - the threesixty Theatre - is something different and exciting for the Orange County Performing Arts Center. The play takes place in the round and is housed in a 100 foot tall tent that was shipped all the way from London. And on the ceiling of this white tent, 12 projectors deliver 15,000 square feet of CGI projection including pirate ships, waterfalls, dolphins, trees and 400 square .iles of virtual London.

But as exciting as all of that was, the stars of the show really were... the stars! Jonathan Hyde as Mr Darling/Captain Hook and Itxaso Moreno as Tinkerbell absolutely stole the show and Nate Fallows as Peter Pan was surprisingly, wonderfully complex.
Nate Fallows at Peter Pan

There are also really cool puppets and an overall this is a creative, fresh and exciting interpretation and adaptation of Peter Pan.

I took my 3 year old daughter to this show and it was a little too intense for her. Mainly, because only two days earlier, I accidentally terrified her to death by taking her on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. Read more about my fabulous parenting skills here

WAY too many pirates in one week and she had to leave just before intermission. That being said, she seemed to be the only child leaving and there were several kids there the same age. It's really just MY very sensitive, sweet kid, but there are some scenes which are a bit intense and violent and the production company suggests 5 as an appropriate age level. 

Another feature of this presentation that I really enjoyed was the outdoor patio where there were snacks, drinks and candy for sale and you could even pre-order a glass of wine for intermission! 

Please patronize this wonderful, non-profit arts center. It is so beautiful - stunning actually - and is one of the nation's premier arts organizations. They offer a wide range of programs covering everything from jazz to classical, Broadway to ballet and more. 

To learn more about the Orange County Performing Arts Center, visit their website at and to learn more about Peter Pan 360, go to

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