LEWISTON — Magic happens when “Peter Pan” flies onto the stage at Lewiston Middle School where Community Little Theatre offers up an excellent production of this delightful musical show.
Sydney Browne as Peter Pan has the audience in the palm of her hand every minute she is on stage — or above it. The flying scenes with Peter and the Darling children are great, but they are just the beginning of a long list of wonderful moments in this show.
Not the least of the exceptional accomplishments in this “Peter Pan” is a top-notch set with many imaginative scenes and special effects. The costumes are great and the music is outstanding.
That are a lot of superlatives to heap on a local theater company that relies on a limited budget, and volunteer production and performer participation. It is all richly deserved, and a major share of the credit goes to Richard Martin, who directed the performance and also guided the efforts of a large construction crew as set designer.
Browne’s performance lights up the stage with talent that echoes Mary Martin’s origination of the role on Broadway in the 1950s. When Peter soars through the big wide-open window of the Darling children’s bedroom, it’s like time returned to that first presentation of this musical classic.
Browne first appeared on a stage at age 5 in “The Wizard of Oz.” Since then, she has performed in many shows, and she sang for 11 years with Portland’s Musica de Filia.
Throughout the show, Browne breathes life into a story that’s as appropriate for adults as for children. Comments from children in the dark theater audience made it clear they were spellbound by the production.
Browne's command of the stage and Broadway-class voice recreate the quality of the golden age of musical theater.
Rachel Powell gives a fine performance as Wendy, and the roles of Michael and John are very well done by Keenan Soule and Oliver Hall. Fourth-grader Hall is filled with wide-eyed excitement every time he takes flight, thanks to the behind-the-scenes marvels of Flying By Foy, a firm that provided the apparatus and training for that essential element of “Peter Pan.”
Soule, who will be a fifth-grader this fall, also gives a fine performance.
John Nutting plays the deliciously villainous Captain Hook. His first appearance for CLT was in last year’s “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” as a delightful boozy character. His portrayal of Hook is bold, boisterous and comically menacing.
The antics of the pirates rate special mention. Several members of that motley crew are also young actors who provide excellent support. The dances to Hook’s plotting are hilarious, and their fights with the Lost Boys and Indians are very well done.
Several young ladies portraying Tiger Lily’s Indian band give spirited performances and lively dance routines. Sydney Hancock makes a fine CLT debut as Tiger Lily.
Melissa Hall Sundell, who is Oliver’s mother, appears as Liza, the Darling family’s maid, who tags along to Never Never Land. She also gets to experience flying time, and her supporting role includes a good duet with Peter Pan as she and Browne reprise “I Gotta Crow.”
There are numerous musical highlights ranging from “Tender Shepherd” to Peter’s infectious “I Won’t Grow Up” and “I’m Flying” and the comic Hook and crew dances, a march, a tango a tarentella and a waltz.
The forest hide-and-seek between Peter and Hook to “Oh, My Mysterious Lady” is great fun.
Isabella Doucette-St. Onge plays Jane, who is seen in the last scene as grown-up Wendy’s daughter. At 9 years old, she is making her third CLT appearance.
Dan Crawford, a CLT veteran, plays Smee.
Many other names deserve credit for a great show, including Beth Barefoot, music director, and a talented orchestra. Music in this show is critical to moving the action along, particularly as it accompanies the flighty Tinkerbell.
WHAT: “Peter Pan”
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 12; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 13-14; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 15.
WHERE: Lewiston Middle School, 75 Central Ave.
TICKETS: Call 783-0958 or visit www.laclt.com