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Friday, February 26, 2021

‘Broadway style’ Peter Pan production to debut in Qatar in October

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Peter Pan
Peter Pan

With a little bit of “faith…trust (and) pixie dust,” the the boy who never grew up will debut in Qatar when Peter Pan: The Never Ending Story opens at the Qatar National Convention Center next month.

The two-hour long production, based on the popular character and series of novels created by Scottish playwright J.M. Barrie, will run 11 shows from Oct. 1 to 9 with a cast of over 50 actors and 50 more crew members.

Dubbed by organizers as a “mash-up of stunts and a Broadway-style musical,” the show, now in its second year, will feature actor Jeffrey Italiaander in the eponymous role of Peter Pan.

Other leading cast members include Roos Van de Waerden as Wendy, Nordin De Moor as Smee and Richard Spijkers as Captain Hook.

The story

Peter Pan first appeared in a 1902 novel, The Little White Bird, by J M Barrie. Barrie subsequently developed the character as the center of his stage production, which ran for nine years in London.

Peter Pan
Peter Pan

The character was then adapted and expanded upon, resulting in the publication of Peter and Wendy, one of Barrie’s most prominent novels, in 1911.

Drawing on the novel, the Doha stage show is a loose adaption of the popular tale, created by Belgian producer Geert Allaert and the creative team at Music Hall.

The musical blends lavish costumes, street dance, pop music, digital imaging technology and pyrotechnics in an immersive performance that in previous iterations, has cost over €17 million (Dh86m) to produce.

The show is directed by the Belgian director, Luc Petit, who had previously worked with the international entertainment and acrobatics troupe Cirque du Soleil.

It features an original score and adapted compositions created by Grammy award-winning British musical director Matt Dunkley, whose roster of previous works includes Moulin Rouge, Pirates of the Caribbean and Black Swan.

Peter Pan
Peter Pan

Songs from the show come from the world of pop, film, opera and classical music and include songs by artists like Robbie Williams, Rod Stewart, Puccini, and from productions like Pirates of Penzance and Moulin Rouge.

Speaking to Doha News, head of social media for Elgancia Events, Tawney Kruger said that the songs were “chosen to accompany a specific character or event in the production.”

She added:

“These well-known songs make it easy for the audience to sing along with the characters and feel completely included in the performance no matter where they are seated…

The magical and whimsical (production) has all your favorite character(s) from the Disney version with a few additional (ones) from the original book as well as a lesson or two in how to save a fairy that was not in the Disney Movie. Disney also changed the way Captain Hook attempted to kill Peter Pan as well as how you can learn fly, which we reverse in the production.”

3D projections

Unlike most productions that feature hand-painted or printed sets, Peter Pan will make use of a novel projection technology wherein images are digitally mapped onto the stage and projected using lights in lieu of a physical set.

“We use a 3D projection on stage, so the audience has a feeling that they are being dragged into Neverland with Peter” said lead actor Sandor Sturbl, then 28, to the National last year.

Lilly-Jane Young, who played Wendy in the UAE edition, added:

“We project Neverland onto the stage. Rather than a painted set that can’t move, our set is ‘alive’. You can see the flowers grow and move in the wind, the rainfall, a whale swimming. These are things that have never been achieved in ­theater.”

Peter Pan
Peter Pan

Shows will take place daily from Oct. 1-9.

Tickets cost similar to those for other productions like Disney on Ice, and range from QR195, 295, and 425 for Regular, Silver and Gold passes, to QR850, 1,500 and 2,000 for VIP, VVIP and front-row seats.

They can be bought online or at Landmark Mall, Ezdan Mall, City Center, Lagoona Mall, Novo Cinema and Marriott Marquis Hotel Doha.

There is no special price for children, but kids under three years old who sit on parents’ laps are not required to have a ticket. Parents will be required to show proof of age for children without a ticket via a Passport ID at the venue.

Do you plan to watch the show? Thoughts?

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