Note: My sweet, sweet friend Heidi agreed to go check out Peter Pan 360 for me while I was on vacation. (There has to be some kind of an upside to being my friend! Free tickets are it!) She and her daughter checked out the experience at Tysons Corner, and shared their thoughts below!
Honored to be asked to attend and review Peter Pan 360 for PWCMoms, I actually had no idea what it was. Somehow I had missed all the facebook and tv commercials. So I zipped to the website to figure out what “360” meant:
“Escape to Neverland in a whole new way with this spectacular, innovative live stage production of PETER PAN that combines intimate theater-in-the-round and overhead surround CGI projection; with actors in dazzling flying sequences forty feet in the air and whimsical puppets that bring J.M. Barrie’s classic tale to fantastical life, creating a truly unique environmental theatrical experience!”
The videos and descriptions were enthralling. I was excited and full of anticipation about a special evening out with my daughter. (I thought my 11-year-old might be a little old to fully enjoy and appreciate this experience.)
When I told my 8-year-old daughter we were going to see the play “Peter Pan” she started reminiscing about the various other Peter Pan experiences we have had: seeing the musical at a university theater, watching three different movies, as well as seeing “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” live at Disney World when she was four. I explained this would be different from all of those experiences, but I didn’t give her any details. (I just hoped I was right!!)
Good news….I was right! It was fabulous. Take your favorite aspects of various theater experiences (part Imax, part circus, part theater, part puppetry) put them together under a modern big top, and you will enjoy the story of Peter Pan with lots of laughter and gasps of amazement. We didn’t stop smiling the entire time.
The temporary theater is under a tent near Tysons Mall in McLean. You have to park at the mall’s free garage (there are plenty of signs to direct you) and walk a long city block to the theater. (Wear comfortable shoes and clothing. I was over-dressed.) There are plenty of photo ops before you enter the theater and around the lobby, including a backdrop for a “photo booth” to capture a fun instagram photo (#nevergrowup). Sit in your seats early for the pre-show entertainment…very talented musicians singing pirate song classics.
The theater-in-the-round was a lot smaller than I expected, but that is part of what makes this a more unique experience. I had the impression there are no bad seats: we sat about half-way up and it was perfect. You get to actually see the actors’ facial expressions! The stage is raised and much of the action is in the air, so even if an adult is sitting in front of your child, her view will not be blocked. The overhead projection appears to be perfectly viewable from any seat as well.
I loved hearing the belly laughs from my daughter, especially when Tinkerbell threw fabulous temper tantrums face down on the stage. I enjoyed watching my daughter gasp when the actors flew through London. And I was impressed with the gymnastic and acrobatic choreography that added to an already fabulous, classic story.
My 8-year-old’s review: “My favorite part was everything! It was also really funny because Michael, the little boy, hit Captain Hook in the head with the Teddy Bear. I liked the scenery and how they flew. I felt like I was in there with them. Tinkerbell was really funny. She was my favorite character because she had tantrums when Peter Pan said they had to go save Wendy.”
It was a great production and I highly recommend it to your family!
Just the facts:
Recommended for ages 5 and up, although younger children will enjoy it, too. Older children may not fully enjoy the whimsy of this experience.
Pros: Even if you have seen Peter Pan “umpteen” times, this will be a unique experience, small theater, engaging actors, visually entertaining, photo op with a couple of actors after the show
Cons: Hard to understand the British accents, loud noises and lights may be uncomfortable for children with sensory sensitivities
(Note: The crocodile “Tick -Tock” got very close to the audience, growled loudly, and made a few little ones cry. Capt. Hook slices Tiger Lily’s neck to kill her, not graphic, though. But (yay!) she was one of the first out for applause.)
The show is in DC for four weeks with an all new cast (from the previous run). It lasts approx. 87 minutes with a 20 minute intermission. Tickets start at $30. There is a concession stand and merchandise shop at typical theater prices ($20 t-shirt, $15 foam sward, $5 soft pretzel, $7 popcorn.)
Disclaimer: PwcMoms was provided with free tickets to this event, but all opinions are our own. You can tell because Heidi is entirely too nice to lie. She'd tell you.