Saturday, May 18, 2013


Trisha LaFache and Daniel Shawn Miller Photo credit Mary Ann Williams

Peter Pan: The Boy Who Hated Mothers 
by Michael Lluberes

How often do you brave Santa Monica Boulevard, the theatre district adjacent to rock and roll and seven foot drag queens and emerge having experienced real magic?  This is not that Vegas “make the elephant vanish with smoke and mirrors routine” but before your very eyes the energy of a cast of actors so committed that the thrift store set: flotsam and jetsam: the detritus of basic stuff all come together with atomic energy: fission and explosions of wonderfulness that, when we are lucky, leaves us with tears in our eyes and the knowledge that not only do you believe in fairies, but you believe in love.

Michael Lluberes’ play imagines… really re-imagines J.M. Barrie’s story of the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up in such a creative way that it’s a little hard to describe.  Mary Hamrick’s multifunctional set combines with superior lighting design by Tim Swiss and Zack Lapinski to transform the Darling bedroom into a rag tag Neverland, a pirate ship and magical settings elsewhere all before our very eyes.  Director Michael Matthews has cast actors who have decided to all be in the same play at the same time. They keep a breakneck pace sparked by the acrobatic skills of Daniel Shawn Miller as Peter.  With doubling we meet the Lost Boys/Pirates (David Hemphill, Amy Lawhorn and Jackson Evans), Tinkerbell, Captain Hook (really sexy and evil to the core Trisha LaFache who also plays Wendy and John’s mother Mrs. Darling).  At once a little girl and a very necessary mother, Liza Burns creates a multifaceted Wendy. Benjamin Campbell plays brother John.

Michael Darling has died as a baby.  Mrs. Darling is melancholy until her medicine perks her up.    All children grow up… except one and Peter is determined to never do so.  He learns deep life lessons and at one point in a fierce confrontation with Hook must look into his own face as Hook declares that they are one in the same. Lluberes’ script touches in a beautifully gritty way the familiar story of the Pan who invades The Darling Children’s bedroom in search of his shadow.  The physicality of Miller’s performance is exhausting.  Totally involved, his energy is contagious and the remainder of the cast keeps up stroke for stroke. 

The Blank Theatre has been around for many years.  Founding Artistic Director Daniel Henning has created a space for creativity at its highest level.   This tiny theater invites the audience in from busy Santa Monica Boulevard and from the first moment on the stage something extraordinary is happening.  I always go into any theatre with a high expectation and often find myself stepping back looking for the ‘stuff’ that will draw me into the essence of the play.  Seldom does that happen.  Tonight, the ethos and pathos of the writing combined with the genuine commitment to the story and the action by the actors left me breathless and with hope for what the Theatre is supposed to do every time:  entertain, elucidate, engross, entitle the mind to expand and accept the cardboard and fluff as the real deal: the real moment.  The real magic.

Photo Credit Mary Ann Williams
This is one of the best productions that I have ever seen. It brings back good memories of the seventies when The Company Theatre created ensemble pieces like The Emergence and Children of the Kingdom.  It is simply  excellent work.

Peter Pan: The Boy Who Hated Mothers by Michael Lluberes
 NOW EXTENDED THRU Sunday July 28, 2013
Thursday / Friday / Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 2pm
ADMISSION: $30             
Available online at
or by calling  (323) 661-9827. 
The Blank’s 2nd Stage Theatre  
6500 Santa Monica Boulevard
(at Wilcox), in Hollywood  
Arrive early for parking.  
The little Cafe at the Hudson is expensive, but really nice. 

No comments:

Post a Comment