Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.

The Adventures of Peter Pan
Synetic Theater
Review by Susan Berlin | Season Schedule

Also see Susan's reviews of Antony and Cleopatra, Are You Now, or Have You Ever Been..., The Price, and Our Town

Ryan Sellers and Alex Mills
Photo by Johnny Shryock
The story of Peter Pan is a natural for Synetic Theater in Arlington, Virginia, whose performers have always seemed to defy gravity without help from flying harnesses. The company's current production of The Adventures of Peter Pan is 95 minutes of delightful entertainment for all ages, anchored by longtime company members Alex Mills as Peter and Ryan Sellers as Captain Hook.

Director Paata Tsikurishvili, choreographer Irina Tsikurishvili, and adaptor Ed Monk started with Sir James Barrie's original play and novel but, as with the company's other adaptations, put their own stamp on the material. They begin the performance with an origin story for Tinkerbell (Ana Tsikurishvili) and how she becomes Peter's companion, then show Tinkerbell's bringing Peter's shadow (Zana Gankhuyag) to life. (Examinations of split identities are a Synetic trademark, from giving the portrait an independent persona in The Picture of Dorian Gray to dividing Iago's character among three performers in Othello.)

While this Synetic production incorporates dialogue, the physical activity never lets up: even before Peter Pan arrives in their bedroom, brothers John (Thomas Beheler) and Michael Darling (Scott Whalen) attempt to "fly" by jumping on their beds. Kathy Gordon is a lovely Wendy, able to stand up for herself but as interested in fun as the Lost Kids (unlike Barrie's story, they aren't all boys)—who, in an intriguingly surrealistic touch, run around Neverland pushing one-wheeled bicycles with animal heads mounted on the handlebars.

Then there are the pirates, a rollicking bunch led by Sellers' deliciously self-dramatizing Hook and his sidekick Smee (Nathan Weinberger), almost overbalanced by his enormous belly. And there are mermaids too!

Daniel Pinha's massive scenic design shifts from one locale to another by rotating and splitting in half; the airy, segmented curtains rise to become billowing sails, and a shimmering blue sheet represents the sea. Kendra Rai costumes the pirates in a coordinated palette of red, black, and white, while Tinker Bell's costume glows with color-changing fiber optic lights.

Synetic Theater
The Adventures of Peter Pan
October 18th - November 19th, 2017
Based on the novel by J.M. Barrie, adapted by Ed Monk
Peter Pan: Alex Mills
Captain Hook: Ryan Sellers
Tinker Bell: Ana Tsikurishvili
Wendy Darling: Kathy Gordon
Smee: Nathan Weinberger
John Darling: Thomas Beheler
Michael Darling: Scott Whalen
Cookson: Rob Schumacher
Starkey: Tori Bertocci
Bill Jukes: Audrey Tchoukoua
Shadow: Zana Gankhuyag
Nibs: Nate Shelton
Slightly: Anna Lynch
Tootles: John Millward
Directed by Paata Tsikurishvili Choreographed by Irina Tsikurishvili
1800 S. Bell St.
Arlington, VA 22202
Ticket Information: 866-811-4111 or