by Jenna Rocca
The Cabbagetown Theatre Co. presented The High Flying Adventures of Peter Pan as a part of the annual Cabbagetown Street Festival. The company, known for its short-format original pieces, annually stages a pantomime-style family show. This year’s edition was a frivolous take on the classic J.M Barrie tale.
In their version much as in the original, the flying man-child (Basil Tamkei) has again lost his shadow, but now resides in Toronto and works for Porter Airlines. In addition, he not only has green tights, but the eye shadow to match. With the help of his fairy friend Tinkerbell (Larry Peloso), a “Mike Holmes reject who wears a “tinker belt,” he takes an invisible magic carpet back to Never-never-land in a delightful reference to last year’s production of Aladdin.
Of course, further high-jinks and audience participation ensues with Hook (David Occhipinti) and Smee (Wendy Akerboom) as Pan’s target. The vivacious and playful cast were all high-spirited and interactive, most notably Tamkei, who was perfectly at home in the tights. His comical over-acting was perfect for a mostly 12 and under audience, who were incredibly responsive to the physicality of his performance.
But even the “big lost boys and girls” had to chuckle at the suggestiveness of his delivery. I particularly enjoyed the climactic slow-motion battle that gradually transformed into a So-Who-Think-You-Can-Dance showdown. The clever playfulness of the original piece by Kim Spregner (who also directed), brought the camp element out of the notion of clapping if you believe in fairies.
It also featured the best take I have ever witnessed of Michael Buble’s “Come Fly with Me” in the form of a ballroom-style opening dance number.
The show took place in the small Necropolis Chapel, a tiny yet regal little building where the audience sits in pews. The set featured a lovely classic, painted backdrop, which are scarce nowadays.
While, at first, I did not know what to expect out of this company, I was delightfully impressed by their take, and while directed primarily at kids, got a great kick out of it. The humour was not lost on anyone, young or old and this can be attributed to the great performers who ran the show every hour on the hour Saturday and Sunday.
This show ran last week from Friday Sept. 10th – Sunday Sept. 12th. Don’t miss The Cabbagetown Theatre Co‘s next annual panto-style comedy next year.