Heather’s Review of “Pete, or the Return of Peter Pan”

Earlier this year, I published a post about our visit to the Tempe Center for the Arts to watch a production by Childsplay called Perô or The Mysteries of the Night. As one of the Childsplay Family2Family Bloggers for their 2015-2016 season, my family and I were fortunate enough to attend another one of their performances this past weekend, Pete, or the Return of Peter Pan.

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This production is performed on the main stage and has a fantastic set! This is a sequel to the original Peter Pan story and tells a wonderful tale filled with emotion, adventure, and fun. The actors connected with the audience and drew in their attention quickly. My 6 and 9 year old boys were engaged in the performance from the beginning.

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There are lots of acrobatic moves as the characters battle ninjas and pirates, as well as race around Neverland having fun. This was a longer performance than  Perô or The Mysteries of the Night and included an intermission – which is always good when you are with young children.   The performance focused on time and memories as well – these productions are great about giving the families conversation starters for the ride home.  My boys thoroughly enjoyed it – especially all of the action scenes!

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Pete, or the Return of Peter Pan is showing for a couple of more weeks, for more details, you can visit the website here. If you do attend with small children, I’d highly recommend stopping by the coat check on your way in to grab a cushion for the seat – gives kids that extra little boost they need to see the stage.

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Heather
Family Blogger

We returned to Neverland!

What do you get when you cross Pirates of the Caribbean with Peter Pan? You get the perfect sequel! This past weekend, my girls and I ventured out to see Pete, or the Return of Peter Pan. This had been on our calendar for almost six months, so the anticipation was high. Long before their interest of princesses, my girls loved the story of Peter Pan. We walked into the theater wondering where a sequel would take us; where would they pick up from? Who would Peter Pan’s new friends be?

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Pete, or the Return of Peter Pan beautifully picked this up and captured all of the fun and magic that the original story provided. At the beginning of the play, we are introduced to a modern day Wendy. She has much more spunk and was much more high spirited than the one we met in the first story. We met her mother and grandmother in the opening scene along with a boy named Henry. Our interest was peaked and we wondered who were these characters and how would they tie into the classic we first fell in love with.

Within ten minutes into the play, we returned to Neverland! I was amazed at how Neverland was recreated on the stage. It was a series of slides, platforms, poles and a jungle gym all put together to make it a child’s dream, just as Neverland is intended.  Don’t worry, it is not your ordinary playground equipment thrown up on stage. I found myself wanting to get up and play on stage.

We were reunited with old friends Peter Pan and Smee and soon met two additional pirates, Ann Bonny and Mary Reed, who would serve as our new villains. However, with their quick wit, hilarious one liners and antics, it was hard to dislike them. They provided many laughs and chuckles that amused both children and adults.

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Peter Pan was his usual playful self. The actor captured his spunk and attitude so well. His new identity of Pete made him much cooler. He provided Wendy and Henry with new adventures that included a bony bird (otherwise known as a pterodactyl) and run-in with ninjas. Yes, ninjas and pterodactyls were written into this sequel. Surprisingly, they fit so well and provided the audience with awe and entertainment!

The overall story of the sequel was cleverly written. We loved the main characters and rooted for them to prevail, but had such a hard time disliking Smee and our new villains. The story line has some twists and turns and unexpected surprises! These new characters were well developed and  integrated so well into the original story line. Without giving anything away, I was left feeling amazed on how it fit together so well and wrapped it up leaving no loose ends, but also provided a chance for the story to continue.

I highly recommend this fun and endearing sequel to a beloved classic. The story line is truly unique and entertaining. I would recommend it to ages five and up, but to truly understand the unexpected surprises and tie it to the original, it is best for ages seven and up. Come with an open mind and prepare for the unexpected because this is not your ordinary Peter Pan, but still as magical and fun as the first!

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The running time for this play is almost two hours. In the middle of the play, there is a fifteen minute intermission. I highly recommend checking out the costume exhibit that is in the back of the Performing Arts Center. It is on display until Mid-May. The exhibit features a gorgeous display of theatrical costumes and masks. We were truly awed by the detail put into these costumes. If you come after Mid-May, there will be another incredible exhibit, as periodically the current exhibit is replaced by another interesting and exciting exhibit. There were not many people viewing the exhibit during intermission, so it left me wondering if people were aware of this hidden gem inside the Performing Arts Center. Be sure to check it out. There is no additional cost and you will not be disappointed.

Darcy Mize
Family Blogger