Review: Peter Pan headlines Syracuse Stage

Director Paul Barnes and the Syracuse University Drama Department bring the well-known childhood story to life during the holiday season.

Peter Pan brings a delightful amount of fun to Syracuse Stage with just a sprinkling of fairy dust. Based on the novel by J.M. Barrie, and directed by Paul Barnes in co-production with Syracuse University Drama Department, this production combines high thrill with magic and wonder.

One night in their bedroom, Wendy, Michael and John encounter Peter Pan, a mysterious, magical boy who refuses to grow up. He convinces them to follow him to Neverland, and soon the audience is transported into a make-believe world filled with incredible wonders.

The set is transformed into a vibrant world adorned with colorful streamers, lights, glitter and complete with actors playing exotic animals that parade through the aisles.

Peter, played by Syracuse University senior Troy Hussmann, brings a boyish, playful charm to the role which is usually played by a woman. In contrast Wendy, played by senior Delphi Borich, portrays the proper precociousness of a well-bred girl.

The stage crew does a splendid job of managing the various interactive and special effects components in the production. Pirates, animals and The Lost Boys enter and exit the stage through an underground trap door, allowing the characters to make full use of the stage. Peter, Wendy, Michael and John offer an added element of surprise by flying through the air, as they are hooked to suspended strings.

Although there is a lot of color and magic on display, this production is no Disney cartoon. Like the original Peter Pan the play explores the darker, cruder elements of the classic tale. An arrow through Wendy’s heart, the poisoning of Tinker Bell and Wendy’s romantic desire for Peter are just some of the plot points that explore the darker undertones of this child’s tale.

Ultimately, the heart of the story is revealed as a sad truth that everyone must grow up. It is only then the audience realizes that just like the characters, they have been captured by fairy dust. And as the curtain closes they are forced to relinquish all the wonders that is Neverland.

The show is running until Jan. 3. Tickets are available at and the Syracuse Stage Box Office (443-3275). Prices range from $20 to $50. 

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