Student Critics review FINDING NEVERLAND
Student critics studying with local writer Lindsay Christians reviewed FINDING NEVERLAND in Overture Hall this week. Here’s some of what they had to say!
“The choreography by Mia Michaels is a highlight of the show for me. Though the modern movements feel slightly out of place in the period piece, they instead are alluding to the whimsical and bizarre nature of the story of Peter Pan. The dancing is unfitting in the most fitting way possible.
“… This musical stirs up all kinds of emotions throughout its run. It leaves you feeling nostalgic and heartened, which in my opinion outweigh the fact that you may have to stop and think, ‘What exactly just happened?’” – Raiya Lewis, West High School
“Jeff Sullivan (J.M. Barrie) … is able to carry himself as the famous playwright when needed but is also able to slip into the youthful writer of Peter Pan. The standing ovation is most earned, however, by the four young boys who serve as the inspiratIon of Barrie’s story. Their vocals in combination with their acting abilities are truly impressive for children of their age.” – Alyssa Beery, Waunakee High School
“J.M. Barrie’s dog, Porthos, is the goodest of boys in Finding Neverland. Porthos is played by an uncredited dog sadly, but there is a literal gasp of delight from the audience whenever he runs on stage and personally stole my heart away.” – Chloe Fullenkamp, Waunakee High School
Also from Chloe – “The score by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy is disappointing and inconsistent. Each song by itself is sufficient, but when strung together they do not make sense. Finding Neverland’s score seemed to grab from every type of Broadway music genre. The plot is scattered … six months have passed while it seems like it has only been six days.”
“The story is of successful playwright and fancy man J.M.Barrie (Jeff Sullivan) as he struggles to write a exuberant new play that will sustain his stardom and keep his friend and theatre-owner Charles Frohman (Conor McGiffin) from going bankrupt.
“… While a decent musical score and good acting does leave a fairly pleasant taste in my mouth, what Finding Neverland earns most of its redeemable qualities in would be its choreography. Camden Loeser does a fantastic job hammering home the point of wonder, childish fun, and using your imagination.” – Ryan Winters, Lodi High School
“The show tried desperately to have an imaginative, outside-the-box score. However, it fell drastically short. Each song failed to build off the energy of the previous number, causing an odd halt in momentum every few minutes. … Certain instruments seemed blindly picked, like the electric guitar in the love ballad “Neverland.” Though brave choices, they ultimately distracted from the message not only for each piece, but for Finding Neverland itself.” – Sami Tomar
Also Sami – “The children seemed to be more expressive than any of the adults. In particular, George (Paul Schoeller) had a short but sweet solo where he deftly showed not only his vocal skills but his talent on the ukulele. In about a minute, he proved himself more capable of Sullivan’s role than most adults in the cast.”
“The style of choreography was much more modern than it probably should have been … the stage felt very busy and confusing, as there wasn’t one clear focal point, and it made it a little bit more difficult for me to really get into the show.
“…While the visual elements weren’t quite there for me, the show made up for it musically. The orchestrations were simply lovely, with soaring melodies and beautiful yet simplistic harmonies.” – Samantha Himegarner, Waunakee High School
FINDING NEVERLAND runs TUE, JAN 8 – SUN, JAN 13
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