We are almost 24 hours apart from the live television performance of “Peter Pan Live!” starring Allison Williams and Christopher Walken. The NBC production, a follow-up from its live production of “The Sound of Music” starring Carrie Underwood, was, in my opinion, largely enjoyable. Or, as enjoyable as a story about annoying, adventurous boy who won’t grow up and the annoying girl who loves him can be.
The critics who watched the mammoth production had opinions as varied as the colors on the scary crocodile’s scales. Like some of the folks on Twitter, there were some critics who loved and some who just hated it.
Brian Lowry for Variety is one of the people who didn’t care for the special all that much, citing that it was a “woefully lifeless production that, the fancy wiring nowithstanding, never quite got off the ground.”
“Stretched to three hours to ‘eventize’ and amortize the proceedings, ‘Peter Pan’ also had the misfortune to peak early – about 30 minutes in, whien Peter whisks Wendy (Taylor Louderman) and her brothers off to Neverland – and fly on autopilot thereafter,” Lowry wrote, stating that the only time the production picked back up was when Peter visits Wendy after she’s grown up (the adult version of Wendy played by Minnie Driver).
Kevin Fallon, a writer for The Daily Beast, despised “Peter Pan Live!”, writing that the production was just too bloated. “…[T]he most egregious thing about ‘Peter Pan Live!’ was that it was an inexcusable bore. For three hours. The thing was three freaking hours,” he wrote.
However, The New York Times had a much softer, kinder look at the production. “Allison Williams ruined hate-watching,” wrote Alessandra Stanley, who had recently been a part of controversy herself with her widely-panned “Angry Black Woman” article about Shonda Rhimes’ television empire. “It turns out this little-known 25-year-old star of ‘Girls has a lovely singing voice – as smooth as double-churn caramel ice cream. Ms. Williams convincingly pulled off a British accent and was, all in all, a confident, lively and suitably impudent Peter Pan.”
Entertainment Weekly was also had kind words for the production. Melissa Maerz wrote that the production was “[t]otally fine…Nothing spectacular,” but much better than “The Sound of Music Live!”.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Tim Goodman also gave kudos to the special, particularly to Williams, who held her own despite the tough task of portraying The Boy who Never Grew Up. “The ‘Girls’ star and daughter of NBC anchor Brian Williams proved she could sing and act and prance around with the red light of the cameras reminding her there were no second takes,” he wrote. “The role called for her to exert a fair amount of physical effort, much of it on wires – precisely the kind of thing that would tire out and doom a lot of actors who never did live theater or musical theater. But Williams held her own and in the process held the show together for the most part.”
What did you think about the production? Give your opinions in the comments section below.
(Photo credit: Patrick Randak/NBC)