Review: “Off the Hook” Peter Pan at Syracuse Stage

Timeless musical flies into Syracuse Stage. Peter Pan soared as audiences were treated to an exhilarating interpretation of the story about a boy who never grows up. Success of Peter Pan as a play depends on the ability to convey the belief, that just for a short time the idea of never maturing beyond youth. Complete with the innocence of a child believing in things magical. This production manages to keep the message and fantasy of the play intact while creatively deleting the original stereotypical depiction of Native Americans as savages.

Warrior Women replace the reductive nature of previous interpretations and casting a male in the lead role breathes new life in a story, that didn’t want to grow up. Syracuse Stage’s production relies on the relationship between Peter Pan and the conflict of what growing older means, as Peter rejects the responsibilities of aging.

Pirate_Peter Pan

Matthew Caraccioli’s, Captain Hook is a combination of Liberace and the notorious Captain Bligh

While other incarnations of the play concentrated on casting a female lead in the role using the physicality of a young girl to represent a boy never growing past puberty. Troy Hussmann as Peter Pan carries the burden of convincing people he’s boy who doesn’t want to grow up, which he does flawlessly.

Matthew Caraccioli’s, Captain Hook is a combination of Liberace and the notorious Captain Bligh ; He’s off the Hook, strutting about the stage with 4 inch healed Pirate Boots played deliciously snarky. Hook’s the leader of a band of hapless Pirates, a crew complete with high stepping dancing and comic levity. This tight ensemble draws us into the fantasy which had Peter and the Darling children dazzle the audience, with synchronized flying in the iconic scene as Peter Pan whisks them away to Neverland.

Syracuse Stage’s interpretation depends on Hussmann’s ability to convince us intellectually and emotionally that he’s a boy.  Surrounding him is a stellar cast Wendy Darling played by Delphi Borich, actors playing the Darling’s children excelled, no better exemplified than their performance of the song, Tender Shepperd.  The Darling family, an ensemble cast of Peter’s companions, the Lost Boys and a crew of Pirates led by a remarkable Captain Hook make this a production of Peter Pan one that should not be missed.

Don’t miss Syracuse Stage’s production of Peter Pan, it’s off the Hook.