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Pan can dance: SCT's Peter Pan's a delight

panhookfight_thumbI've been looking forward to this show ever since I saw it on SCT's line-up. After all, when one of the best theaters in Seattle stages one of my favorite kids' classics, it's bound to be good. And I knew Linda Hartzell wouldn't take on this magical masterpiece without bringing the full bling: twinkling fairies and flying children, natch. A gloriously engaging man-child Peter Pan, natch. What I wasn't expecting was the brilliant choreography.panwindow_thumb

In fact, Eric Ankrim's Peter is as nimble and boyishly appealing as they come - you could even call him dreamy, all earnestness and charm, with his boy-band tenor and effortless leaps and twirls. From the moment he first flies through the window, you believe that a girl would willingly leap out the window after him, bound for adventures and Neverland. For a while there, he steals the show - well, and the large furry dog (played by Jadd Davis in a somewhat mangy-looking dog suit), clearly there to bring the youngest audience members to fits of giggles.

But before long, Captain Hook appears - the unparalleled David Pichette (ACT Theatre's Scrooge for many years) - and my evening is complete. Somehow managing to be simultaneously evil and kid-friendly, Pichette swaggers and schemes and even licks his hook to nefarious effect. His minions (pirates) caper about, plotting the kidnapping of Wendy -- because they want a mommy -- but despite all the talk about killing Lost Boys, the pirates never get really scary. Even the crocodile - again, an actor in a crowd-pleasing croc suit - manages to menace without frightening, and a fight sequence in the second act seems to go on forever with nary a player hitting the deck.

This Peter Pan's a real kid-pleaser, with charming sets, engaging actors, first-rate singing and spot-on dancing (especially the Bollywood-style "Pow-wow Polka" in act 2). Recommended for ages 6 and up (because it's 2 hours long). Playing through Jan. 10; do buy your tickets here.

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