Tags: peter pan live | nbc | allison williams | christopher walken

'Peter Pan Live!' Review Roundup: Critics Give Show a Collective 'Meh'

By    |   Friday, 05 December 2014 09:43 AM

NBC's "Peter Pan Live!" special got mixed to poor reviews after its Thursday night performance, with critics giving it a collective "meh."

"It was boring. Where's the fairy dust when you need it?" asked one reviewer at The Daily Beast. "Peter Pan Falls Sadly Flat" read a headline from The Associated Press.

The live production — a follow up to last year's "Sound of Music Live!" — had been hotly anticipated since July, when Christopher Walken was cast as Captain Hook. Significant buzz also took off that same month when NBC News host Brian Williams did a cute segment dedicated to his daughter, "Girls" actress Allison Williams, after she scored the role of Peter Pan.

The run-up to the big night was also exclaimed widely by NBC, which promoted a behind-the-scenes look at the production during the week of Thanksgiving.

Unfortunately, the performance didn't live up to the hype, and left much to be desired.

It certainly wasn't a disaster, but it was so middling that those set to cheer it on were disappointed, as were the cynics who tuned in to "hate-watch" what they hoped would be a kitschy, mockable trainwreck. No one seemed to be satisfied, much less moved to passionate love or hate.

Gathered below are reviews from major newspapers and sites around the web, as well as Twitter posts from at-home viewers.

The Los Angeles Times:

"NBC deserves points for bravery. After the social media drubbing the network received for the fiasco known as 'The Sound of Music,' it presented 'Peter Pan Live!' on Thursday night . . . I think this experiment in live musical theater may just prove that the age of enforced commercial viewing is over. I never knew just how physical the urge to fast-forward could be."

The Washington Post:

"'Peter Pan Live’s!' one letdown was Christopher Walken as the show's villain pirate, Captain Hook. It was an act of stunt-casting that seemed perfectly appropriate when announced but, in practice, was about as strong as wet cardboard."

The Associated Press:

"NBC's live telling of J.M. Barrie's classic tale Thursday was an oddly ponderous, disconnected, disjointed, and jerky mess. If it had been a Broadway show, it would have gotten the hook (pun intended) . . . HBO 'Girls' star Allison Williams was admirable in a role made famous by Mary Martin and Cathy Rigby. Her voice wasn't strong but it was true and she was game for plenty of physical effort."

The Daily Beast:

"For all of its large-scale production numbers danced expertly by an army of Lost Boy twinks and psychedelic sets designed by someone clearly flying high on some strong fairy dust, the most egregious thing about 'Peter Pan Live!' was that it was an inexcusable bore."

"First, and foremost, there's the aforementioned performance by Christopher Walken as Captain Hook, which alternated between inspired brilliance and an apparent lack of awareness that he was even on national television, depending on a scene. At one glance, he’s doing the Tarantella and it is as fierce as his feathered cap. In the next, he’s opening his mouth to sing and there is blatantly no noise coming out, or just flat out forgetting his lines altogether."

St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

"Allison Williams, cast in the lead as Peter Pan, was all right, but strange-looking in her 'boy' wig and too feminine for us ever to believe she was a young man . . . Christopher Walken, whose casting seemed a stroke of genius, was oddly awful as Captain Hook. At points, he seemed to be sleepwalking; other times, he was frenzied . . . Taylor Louderman was delightful as Wendy, and her voice put Williams' to shame. Unfortunately, she spent nearly three hours in an embarrassing granny nightgown and terrible wig . . .

"Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron took big steps forward from 'The Sound of Music Live!' Perhaps next year's show, assuming their will be one, will hit closer to the mark that true fans of musical theater expect and hope for."


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NBC's "Peter Pan Live!" special got mixed to poor reviews after its Thursday night performance, with critics giving it a collective "meh."
peter pan live, nbc, allison williams, christopher walken
Friday, 05 December 2014 09:43 AM
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