Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Peter Pan

We cancelled our Sat night babysitter to take the kids to see JM Barrie's Peter Pan, a stage production which has come to San Francisco after a massively successful year in London.

I NEVER cancel our babysitter, Katie, but we were generously given the tix for free and it would have embarrassed (even) me to admit I didn't take my kids. So I made the call to Katie, fully expecting Nobel peace prizes, sundry Mother of the Year awards and whatty notty to start firing in. Hmmm, nothing....

Unbelievably none of our kids knew the tale of the mischievous Peter Pan, a young boy adventuring on the island of Neverland, leader of his gang of Lost Boys,  meeting mermaids, Indians and pirates. We first meet the idyllic Darling family living in Kensington gardens in Edwardian times. One night when the children's nursery windows are open, Peter Pan slips in and lures the three Darling children to his wonderland. The sweetie pie mama, Mrs Darling is left berefit and alone with Mr Darling.

As we walked along the San Francisco waterfront to the show's pavilion, Tallulah obviously had me confused with sweetie pie mama, Mrs Darling.

"We should have a family dinner every Thursday." Tallulah, 9,  announced. She's always keen to implement sweet and hopeful family traditions.

Harley, 12, being his mother's son, read my mind and even imitated my kiwi accent: "You must be bloody kidding. In fact.... henceforth let's cancel all family activities."
Harley counselled further: "Mum, when we're all gone to college, you and Dad should probably move to Mexico under aliases. And even better take out a restraining order on us, so we don't move home."

The production was incredible: despite the story being 100 years old, it was fresh and fun. And, I know the term is overused, magical.They used puppets, flying characters and circe d'soleil-type solos for Tiger Lily and the mermaids.  A 360 degree video made you feel  you too were flying all over Edwardian London and Neverland.  Winging it around London's Kensington Gardens, where we used to live for 15 years, made me feel terribly nostalgic and quite teary. 

Tinkerbell was played by a scruffy, tiny cantankerous woman of uncertain years. The crocodile, who ate Captain Hook's hand, was made of coat hangers, men's ties and shirts, just as you would imagine young children would make it (in Edwardian times, when there was no legos.)

All my kids were fascinated by how Peter Pan flew through open windows and tried to lure little kids  to Neverland and a life of eternal youth.

Emerging from the pavilion at 10.30pm into a full moon evening, we asked the kids: Would they like to stay boys and never grow up?

"No" said Jackson emphatically, "Then I would never get to drink wine".

But that night, I made sure to close all their bedroom windows just in case they were tempted to fly away with Peter Pan.

Pic shows Cy, six, sleeping safe at home with Jax, 11.

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