A cupful of swagger

Peter Pan

Yer darn tootin’ you don’t have to grow up. Not as long as you can belt out a song and take to the air!

Yer darn tootin’ you don’t have to grow up. Not as long as you can belt out a song and take to the air!

Photo By isaac James

Peter Pan, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Saturday, Sunday; 7:30 p.m. Friday; $19-$86. Broadway Sacramento at the Community Center Theater, 1301 L Street; (916) 557-1999; www.calmt.com. Through December 30.
Rated 4.0

If you want more proof that elite athletes aren’t quite like the rest of us, check out Cathy Rigby’s up-in-the-air, bouncing-off-the-walls, doing-split-on-the-floor-while-turning-backflips performance of the boy who wouldn’t grow up in Broadway Sacramento’s presentation of Peter Pan.

Yeah, it’s an old story, and some parts of it—particularly the constrained gender roles, the representation of Native Americans, and the idea that adults can’t have any fun—are a bit dated. Fortunately, all the magic remains in place, and a good chunk of that is thanks to Rigby’s stellar performance as the first ADHD kid about town, Peter Pan. She’s got a cupful of swagger and a heart full of oppositional-defiant disorder, which is the perfect way to represent what we once just called “childhood.”

Oh, and in addition to acrobatics and dancing, turns out she can still sing up a storm. Rigby is ably assisted by the outstanding Brent Barrett, particularly in his Captain Hook role (he also plays Mr. Darling). His Hook is the proper sort of cartoon villain, just right for mustache-twirling evil plots and terror-stricken panic attacks at the approach of the ticking Crocodile (Clark Roberts in a fantastic costume).

Yes, all the children, pirates and Indians are also quite good, especially the dancing, including an acrobatic rope ballet by Tiger Lily (Jenna Wright) and one of the Indians. The drum-infused—if less than politically correct—number “Ugg-a-Wugg” is another high point.

But the real attraction here is flight, accomplished in graceful glory by Rigby, and stage managed so smoothly that even when looking, it was difficult—if not impossible—to catch the points at which she was slipped into the flying harness.

Peter Pan, Broadway Sacramento’s holiday “extra” show, offers a bit of retro charm, with just the right edge of enthusiasm for an audience made up largely of the grade-school demographic and their family members. That makes the gasps of delight slightly more high-pitched—and definitely more heartwarming.