Heartfelt Review of Jason Woods Peter Pan Adaptation

April 23, 2016 0 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Arts Philanthropist/activist Diane Kilpatrick Brunet-Garcia: I was transported to Neverland last night in a completely surprising venue for original theatre. And guess what? You can’t go. The last two performances of Jason Woods’ adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan” are completely SOLD OUT. Find out why after the jump.

There’s a reason that he’s packed 200 people each night into straight-back chairs for ten riveting performances of this moving magical adventure.

Now that I have gotten a glimpse of his formidable talents, I will never miss a Jason Woods production again. But in truth, I really went to see my buddy Josh.

When going to the theatre expressly to see a friend, you feel excited but also a little nervous. What if the performance is not quite “there”? What do you say? Do you duck out early? Do you just smile and murmur something vague and non-committal? Thank the good lord and Jason Woods, last night I didn’t have to.

Joshua Taylor’s creation of Hook is nuanced and astounding. And as much as he owns and embodies this role that he was meant for, his vocally rich and inventive performance is never a self-indulgent star-turn. Because of sterling, crisp, attentive direction and impeccable timing not only by Josh, but also his director, he commands the stage at the same time he generously and harmoniously fits into one of the tightest ensembles I’ve ever seen on any stage in Jax. That speaks not only to Josh’s generosity as an actor, but particularly to the ethos the director has stirred in this ensemble cast – made up of only four or five professional actors and an army of amateur actors, dancers and musicians.

Josh explored and exploited a vocal and physical range I had no idea he possessed. It's a star-turn without ever feeling like a star-turn.

Oh my god, Josh, I love you.

The inspired performances that Jason has coaxed out of children and puppets is enough to let you know that this man is a master director. Just in case being a master writer, composer, musician, and scene designer were not enough...Seriously, keep your eye on this talented quadruple threat.

We need more of this, Jacksonville! Proudly, organizations like Christ Episcopal Church - Ponte Vedra , Players by the Sea Theatre, The 5 & Dime, A Theatre Company, The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, Museum of Science & History, Jacksonville, MOCA Jacksonville, The Performers Academy, the Groundling Scribes, Swamp Radio, Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, and many others are creating and/or patronizing original work by so many of our region’s top creators.

Let’s keep providing the playground and the funding for wonderfully inventive creators like Jason Woods. Think of it, not as a donation or a charitable grant without financial return. Think of it as giving birth to extremely valuable intellectual property – which if we manage adeptly – will come back to us in spades. On every level imaginable.

Footnote: If you ever have the opportunity to see any of these other fine performers/creators on stage, seize it. And for goodness sake, Jacksonville, let’s find a way to pay them a living wage. Working for tips just won’t cut it. Seriously!

Lauren Albert (TigerLily)
Summer Grace Grable (Wendy)
Myles Edward Hughes (Smee)
Charlie Pennella (Nibs)
Sadie La Manna (Mermaid Moll)
Hannah Woods ( Nana Puppeteer/Stage Hand)
Cameron Pfahler (Crocodile Puppeteer/Stage Hand)
Garrett Spies (Sound Design/Creative Design)
Ashley Yarham (Choreographer)

Thank you all.

Diane Kilpatrick Brunet-Garcia