Queensland ballet flying high with swashbuckling Peter Pan

Rian Thompson as Peter Pan for Queensland Ballet. Photo: David Kelly (contributed)
Rian Thompson as Peter Pan for Queensland Ballet. Photo: David Kelly (contributed)

THE cheeky grins and impish abandon from Rian Thompson have brought Peter Pan alive in Brisbane.

The Mackay dancer is perfectly cast as the mischievous boy who never grows up - from grumpy stubbornness when he doesn't get his way to rascally trickster struggling to find his inner hero.

He shows he can mix dance and theatre well from swashbuckling sword fights to breathtaking flying scenes and more traditional pas de deux.

But it's the endless energy from Teri Crilly - who plays Wendy's little brother Michael - that evokes the biggest audience chuckles.

Decked out in an over-sized baby jumpsuit and goggles for the whole show, her exuberance is infectious.

The ever impressive Hao Bin does not get to show off much of his dancing prowess on this occasion but his menacing Hook has the kids on the edge of their seats.

The occasional appearance of a large crocodile proves comedic brilliance as Peter Pan leads the Darling children on adventure through Neverland.

The pirates in a scene from the Queensland Ballet's Peter Pan.
The pirates in a scene from the Queensland Ballet's Peter Pan. David Kelly

This is the latest production from Queensland Ballet artistic director Li Cunxin - this time a hark back to his Houston days with choreographer Trey McIntyre on deck.

Cunxin was the lead dancer in McIntyre's first work as a professional choreographer at age 20.

McIntyre created Peter Pan at age 32 but says at 45 he is still deciding when he will grow up.

His youthful exuberance shines through in his work - especially in the playful, yet roguish, dancing from the pirates and the Lost Boys.

Although the robot-controlled rigging behind the Neverland flying scenes is striking, the lighting from another Houston visitor, Christina Gianelli, also is worth a mention.

Shadows and fairytales go hand in hand so it's no surprise that dancer silhouettes projected onto blank canvases throughout the production should look so impressive.

But it is also the use of light to create different distances and the shock injections of light to create a lightning effect that evoke awe.

The incredible costumes- particularly the pirates, mermaids and the Lost Boys - add an extra fantasy level on stage.

The engaging and playful scores from Queensland Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Mogrelia, complete the picture well.

Appealing to both adults and children alike, this ballet is a contemporary take on an old tale - full of wit, energy and charm.

Peter Pan runs until Saturday July 11 at QPAC's Playhouse theatre but many shows are already sold out so get in quick if you are keen.

For tickets, visit the QPAC website.

Topics:  li cunxin peter pan queensland ballet

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