No Rules Theater Company‘s current show, Peter Pan: The Boy Who Hated Mothers, is a fun, dark, engaging time. While staying very true to the book (yes, there’s a book, not just a Disney movie), this play turns the story on its head.
Michael has died, leaving Wendy, John and Mrs. Darling grief stricken and looking for an outlet. Peter Pan arrives, and invites the children to escape to a place where reality doesn’t exist, a land of make believe. But when Neverland turns out to be more dangerous than Wendy could have imagined, reality at home seems more attractive.
The play moves through the traditional story with a quick pace, though there are some long stretches in which yawns were heard in the audience. There are no twinkly lights for Tinkerbell, no adorable Nana the dog, no songs, no dancing (though there is a LOT of jumping through the air from Pan, played with exuberance and childlike suspicion by John Evans Reese, with gymnastic and dramatic thuds punctuating each landing on the boards).
There are some undeniably scary moments from Captain Hook, played by Lisa Hodsoll, who also plays Mrs. Darling. Hook and Mrs. Darling, though they seem completely opposed, are still the only adults in the story, and represent to Pan all his fears about growing up. Caught in the middle of these two poles is Wendy, played with unwavering spirit and verve by Megan Graves.
The production itself is ingenious. The lighting and set design are stupendous, taking the audience from bedroom to sky to lagoon to underground house with the same props. Likewise, the same three actors play the Lost Boys, the Indians, and the Pirates. Seeing the on-stage character change will make anyone smile. There are several laugh-out-loud funny moments from the Lost Boys, most notably from Tootles, played by Adam Downs.
The H Street Playhouse, where the show will remain until March 3, will be closing soon, so this may be your last opportunity to go.
Tickets are $25 and can also be had for even more than half off here for Goldstar members. If you’re after an entertaining and deeply resonant story with full-out performances, go now, you silly grown up.