Peter Pan

Regent On Broadway, Palmerston North

24/11/2009 - 25/11/2009

Isaac Theatre Royal, Christchurch

18/11/2009 - 21/11/2009

Civic Theatre, 88 Tay Street, Invercargill, Invercargill

10/11/2009 - 12/11/2009

ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland

02/12/2009 - 06/12/2009

Municipal Theatre, Napier

28/11/2009 - 29/11/2009

Regent Theatre, The Octagon, Dunedin

14/11/2009 - 15/11/2009

St James Theatre 2, Wellington

30/10/2009 - 07/11/2009

Founders Theatre, Hamilton

09/12/2009 - 10/12/2009

Production Details


Peter Pan is a fantasy-filled, swashbuckling adventure for the young and the young at heart.

Join the Royal New Zealand Ballet as they bring James Barrie’s classic tale to life. Journey from the Darling family’s nursery to Neverland – home to Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, the Lost Boys and the fierce Captain Hook.

A playful combination of theatre and classical ballet, the Royal New Zealand Ballet captures all the excitement and fun of this rip-snorting family favourite.

Leave the mundane behind and watch the whimsical world of make-believe unfold as Peter Pan flies through the window of the Darling nursery in search of his shadow. After teaching the children to fly with the help of a little fairy dust, they set out on an adventure like no other.

Choreographed by Russell Kerr and with picture book-inspired designs by the late Kristian Fredrikson, Peter Pan will captivate and enchant.

Peter Pan opens in Wellington on 30 October and tours to Invercargill, Dunedin, Christchurch, Palmerston North, Napier, Auckland, and Hamilton.

Venue & Show Information for Peter Pan

30 October – 7 November
St James Theatre
Featuring the Vector Wellington Orchestra
Adult $32 – $75*
Child $18 – $45
Book at Ticketek 0800 842 538 or (04) 3843840 

Civic Theatre
10 & 11 November
Civic Theatre
Adult $37 – $58
Child $21 – $33
Book at TicketDirect (03) 211 1692 

14 &15 November
Regent Theatre
Adult $37 – $68
Child $21 -$39
Book at TicketDirect (03) 477 8597

18 – 21 November
Isaac Theatre Royal
Featuring the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra
Adult $42 – $70
Child $22 – $40
Book at Ticketek 0800 842 538 or (03) 3778899

Palmerston North
24 & 25 November
Regent on Broadway
Adult $37.80 – $67.50
Child $18 – $40.50
Book at TicketDirect (06) 3579740

28 & 29 November
Municipal Theatre
Adult $47 – $68
Child $25 – $39
Book at Ticket Direct (06) 835 2702

2 – 6 December
Aotea Centre at THE EDGE®
Featuring the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra
Adult $32 – $75*
Child $18 – $45
Book at THE EDGE® 0800 BUY TICKETS or (0800 289 842) or (09) 357 3355

9 & 10 December
Founders Theatre
Adult $47 – $68
Child $25 – $39
Book at Ticket Direct 0800 224 224

Group Deal – save 10% and receive one free ticket when booking 10 or more tickets
Concessions – senior citizens save 12%
Limited $100 inner circle seating available    

Credit list for opening night, 30 October 2009
Click here for daily casting

PETER PAN:  Michael Braun
HOOK:  Sir Jon Trimmer
TINKERBELL:  Tonia Looker

MICHAEL:  Rory Fairweather-Neylan
WENDY:  Katie Hurst-Saxton
JOHN:  Jacob Chown

MR DARLING:  Qi Huan  
MRS DARLING:  Clytie Campbell
NANNY:  Maree White
SHADOW:  Harry Skinner

SUN KING:  Qi Huan
COLD:  Clytie Campbell
DARK:  Antonia Hewitt
WARMTH:  Catherine Eddy
LIGHT:  Cassandra Wilson

TOOTLES:  Benjamin Chown
NIBS:  Medhi Angot
CURLY:  Harry Skinner
SLIGHTLY:  Chris Manlunas
TWINS:  Lucy Balfour, Alessia Lugoboni

SMEE:  Shannon Dawson
NOODLER:  Pierre Doncq
CECCO:  Jaered Glavin
JUKES:  Paul Mathews
COOKSON:  Daniel Morrison

TIGER LILY:  Abigail Boyle
NEVERBIRD:  Clytie Campbell

Stars, Mermaids, Braves and Squaws:  Artists of the Royal New Zealand Ballet
Sophia Reppion appears by kind permission of the New Zealand School of Dance

CONDUCTOR: Kenneth Young  


A window to magical world of adventure, secrets and spectacle

Review by Terri Ripeka Crawford 11th Dec 2009

After a Nationwide tour, the RNZB is happy to close their season in the Waikato at The Founders Theatre. The anticipating audience at the Wednesday Eve showing is lightly humming with a quiet exuberance. A real family affair: lots of Mum’s with their ballet daughters in special pink frocks. 

It is some time since I have seen the company’s work, and I find this experience to be a pleasant diversion. Sir Jon Trimmer proudly takes out the cover page of the most delightful programme booklet, complete with an activity page on "How to make a pirate hat and eye patch". Trimmer’s performance is by far the most memorable, gallant, animated. I surely would have loved to have dressed up and played a pirate with this Captain Hook. 

Peter Pan (Michael Braun)seems to have received most of the accolades in this production but what about his shadow (Harry Skinner)? This antic scene is so much fun and although the synergy of Peter’s duet with his shadow is a little out of sync, the cleverness of the design by Kristian Fredrikson draws me into the action of this magical display. 

Wendy’s performance is perfect, and Katie Hurst-Saxton brings to this production a quiet understated elegance. With such subtle lines and fluidity of movement this ballerina knows how to let go of technique in exchange for the art of dance. Perhaps it is the training with Kerr at a young age that gives her this edge, setting the quality of her performance apart from the others.

The first dream flight into the other realms is a lot of fun with mannequins surfing through stratus and night skies. The audience giggles and relaxes into the next scene which is odd and quirky, reminiscent of 1930s Hollywood Musicals. At face value anything can happen in a fantasy like this, but the spirit dancers of Cold (Clytie Campbell) and Dark (Antonia Hewitt), Warmth (Catherine Eddy) and Light (Cassandra Wilson) are void of real character; there is no energy from these dancers, and this introduces an unnecessary lameness in the storyline. 

Princess Tiger Lily (Abigail Boyle) has a rawness about her performance, but at times there is a sense of hesitation in the bizarre fantastical movement motifs and tomahawk clutching scenes. The choreography here perhaps does match the nature of the music in these vignettes which is not unlike the theme song of the Hannah Barbara cartoon Hong Kong Phooey.  

There is no depth in this ‘Redskins’ fantasy, and my political sensibilities regarding misappropriation of the First Nation Image are diffused slightly by Dancing Earth Director Rulan Tangen’s comment on Peter Pan: "I am sure it is a complete fantasy like all movies and such forms by non natives but as a kid I was thrilled to be Princess Tiger Lily (or even later Pocahontas) because as a kid you just want to have someone to relate to, even if its pure fantasy." A drop down list of artistic and political debate topics for essay exploration here.

Through the eyes of those new to ballet however, one audience member rates the performance prowess of the Wolves Qi Huan and Kyle Wood. Indeed, with wolf skin backs, buttocks revealed, this male duet is quite the distraction.

Meanwhile, out come the trumpet ice creams at half time. The Hamilton audience is faithful, humbly supportive, and enjoying their special night out.    Through the eyes of a child, the total adventure from your very own bedroom window, through the magical forests and secret doors of tree worlds and pirate ships is an absolute spectacular. The mad, bad Tinkerbell looks so comfortable in her role, maybe she was born for this part. With a scattering of great vignettes throughout, Tinkerbell’s final solo performance is absolutely divine. Tonia Looker is a genuine strength in this work.

If this production is to be restaged in the future, the subplots need a little reworking and support cast need time to develop in their characters. Something for the new Artistic Director to take on however, as Gary Harris – who has been with the company for 9 years – is stepping out from the Artistic Directors role in a year’s time. Whether it be the call of Gary’s favourite London theatre Covent Garden or the urge to soar the skies over his Motherland with a newfound pilot’s licence, we look forward to Gary’s restaging of the Nutcracker fairytale as his finale ballet with the company at the close of 2010.   See you there!
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Applause richly deserved for rollicking performance

Review by Raewyn Whyte 05th Dec 2009

Royal NZ Ballet whisks audience away for a delightful frolic in Neverland

The Royal NZ Ballet’s touring production of Peter Pan fully deserves the accolades which have been heaped upon it.

This rollicking story ballet honours the time-tested values of the great story ballets, with richly contrasting characters whose personalities are created entirely through movement (choreographer Russell Kerr), a set and costumes which provide the context for the action (designer Kristian Fredrickson), a carefully crafted score whose motifs cue the action and enrich the story (composer Philip Norman), all providing the setting for the cohesive ensemble dancing, and lead dancers whose nonchalant virtuosity lets the story flow without interruption. [More]
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Dancing with relish hooks audience into the magical energy

Review by Kerri Fitzgerald 19th Nov 2009

A rip snorting family treasure spills out on stage to please those want to retain the child inside and who pursue fun, action and adventure. Peter Pan is a grand serving of dance; there are lashings of colour and vibrancy, dollops of robust dance and layers of smooth timing. A constant stream of humour bubbles through the piece.

First created ten years ago by the legendary Russell Kerr, with costumes designed by the late Kristian Fredrikson and music by Christchurch composer Philip Norman, Peter Pan is on all levels a masterly production of a masterpiece. James Barrie is purported to have been inspired to create the Peter character after the death of his thirteen year old brother and his realization that while he was growing older, his brother would always be thirteen. JM Barrie gifted royalties from the different stage productions of Peter Pan to the London’s Great Ormand Street Hospital for Sick Children.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet and the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Kenneth Young, combine forces to present this theatrical feast.

The opening sets up the narrative clearly and prepares us to trip the light fantastic. A winsome pas de deux between Peter (danced by the talented Michael Braun) and his shadow (Harry Skinner) sets the standard of the dances to follow. And follow they do.

An out of orbit encounter with stars and light is visually and aesthetically glorious with the creative genius of the designer brought into focus beautifully. Here the dancers demonstrate security of timing and their strong technical training.

The theatrical feast continues with the pirates; their rollicking gait and caricatures provide a brilliant backdrop to the antics of Hook (danced by twinkle toes Jon Trimmer) and Smee (Shannon Dawson). Comic interplay between these two is madcap, energising and quite simply … fun.

Tinkerbell (Tonia Looker) is a stunner; she twinkles, teases and torments (mostly herself) in a decidedly nimble and effective manner. This sassy dancer is beautifully cast and her presence notable. Wendy (Katie Hurst-Saxton) is an able counterpart to her and their jealousy is delivered infectiously.

The Indians, stealthily led by the famous Tiger Lily (Abigail Boyle), incorporate two brawny braves and a set of sultry tomahawk toting squaws. Movement motifs are creative, musical and clear, making this choreography compelling viewing. They provide a great contrast to the bumbling, roly poly Lost Boys who gallivant and cavort with childish abandon, disappearing into their underground home at opportune moments.

When viewing a company dancing with such obvious relish, the audience easily hooks into the magical energy that is created. At times the obvious narrative structure becomes predictable but this is a ballet to entice, engage and please all age groups.

Grab some kids, retrieve the child in you and visit Neverland with the RNZB.
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Editor November 19th, 2009

This review originally named the conductor as Jan van den Berg and the dancer playing Wendy as Catherine Eddy. In fact the conductor was Kenneth Young and Wendy was Katie Hurst-Saxton. The review has now been corrected.

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A hit with children and adults alike

Review by Kasey Dewar 15th Nov 2009

I was eager to see the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Peter Pan at the Regent Theatre in Dunedin (14 Nov).

Russell Kerr created Peter Pan in 1999. Now 10 years old, its high energy choreography, incorporating snippets of dances from foot stomping Spanish-style steps to the Charleston, still delights audiences. Philip Norman as the composer ensures the choreography of each group of characters is complemented by small touches such as "army-style" sounds for the Lost Boys and delicate tinkling bells for Tinkerbell.

The story begins in the Darlings’ nursery, where Antonia Hewitt as the elegant Mrs Darling and Brendan Bradshaw as the aloof Mr Darling beautifully contrast the excited, energetic Michael and John, danced by Rory Fairweather-Neylan and Michael Braun. Catherine Eddy as Wendy conveys the charming, motherly qualities of the character I remember from the book.

The arrival of Peter Pan and Tinkerbell draws excited gasps from the small children in front of me. A smiling, light-footed Medhi Angot as Peter works well with Alessia Lugoboni as the mischievous, sometimes naughty Tinkerbell.

Lighting and special effects help to show the children’s flight from the nursery to Neverland. A stop-off to visit some stars and the Sun King shows beautiful examples of Kristian Fredrikson’s costume designs – Art Deco inspired stars, Charleston dancing, bloomer-wearing Warmth and Light danced by Katie Hurst-Saxton and Lucy Balfour and the glorious red-and-gold creation worn by Brendan Bradshaw as the Sun King.

The bumbling, roly-poly Lost Boys are gorgeous in their "bear skin" jump suits; their energetic and childlike dancing is great to watch. The sword-swinging pirates led by the magnificent Sir Jon Trimmer as Hook and Shannon Dawson as Smee clearly relish their roles terrorising the lost boys and fighting with the Indians.

Clytie Campbell is perfect as a graceful Tiger Lilly, and Maree White as a tooting, stumbling Neverbird draws delighted giggles from the audience.

A great production, with the story easily flowing through the chorography, it is complemented by beautiful costuming and sets. A generous round of applause and whooping from the audience clearly shows the production is a hit with children and adults alike. 
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Pure ballet brilliance

Review by Jennifer Shennan 03rd Nov 2009

Russell Kerr choreographed two million steps for this blockbuster ballet Peter Pan, and the dancers clearly relish them all. Nuances stitched in to the choreography bring poignant moments to a rib-tickling, toe-tapping, swashbuckling show for the child in all of us.

The contrasts of childhood & adulthood, domesticity & fantasy, goodness & piracy, bravery & cantankerousness are conveyed through the choreography, not in addition to it. Some of this works through timing, some through stolen dance fashions anywhere from 1720s to 1920s.

Ingenious lighting and special effects include dancing shadows, flying children, paddling pirates, ticking crocodile – intrinsically simple and the more effective for that.

Kristian Fredrikson’s design is inspired, sometimes splashing over the top, always within the humour of the production. Philip Norman’s composition is like a mighty film score with motifs of sound cued to characters, and plenty of panache throughout. Kenneth Young conducts

the very spirited orchestra. There’s a charming printed programme faithful to the JM Barrie original script. (How scary that children, after hearing the original story, tried to fly out their bedroom windows — and that Lost Boys are babies fallen from their prams when nannies were not looking.)

The casting is perfect: Michael Braun in his best role ever as a mercurial Peter Pan, Tonia Looker a tempestuous wonder as Tinkerbell. Katie Hurst-Saxton a totally charming Wendy, Rory Fairweather- Neylan and Jacob Chown  her irrepressible brothers, Abigail Boyle a subtly

enchanting Tiger Lily, Shannon Dawson hilarious as Smee, a bumbling old pirate.

Jon Trimmer as Hook relishes his role as the best-dressed bully in show business.  At 70 Trimmer gets a year younger every birthday. I wish he would run an adult education course in how to do that.

All fantasy aside, there are exquisite little cameos: children watching their parents leaving for a ball; Tinkerbell dancing her love for Peter Pan dozing in a chair, and touching, better than words

might, on the chemistry of a relationship struggling to express itself. Russell Kerr can do that, and aspiring choreographers would do well to study his craft. The rest of us can just have a blissful evening of fun in the theatre.
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Spirited performances strong on character

Review by Jenny Stevenson 31st Oct 2009

Out of choreographer Russell Kerr’s considerable oeuvre of works (72 ballets in total), Peter Pan must surely be a strong contender for the title of his ‘masterpiece’.  Ten years after its original creation, in 1999, it still delights – crammed with fantasy and colour, and with its idiosyncratic choreographic style impeccably reflecting the nuances of Philip Norman’s witty score.

I admit to approaching this production with some trepidation, having seen the original knock-out cast of Cameron McMillan as Peter and Karen Mackersy as Tinkerbell, but the new cast is equally impressive. 

Michael Braun as Peter would be as close to the ideal ‘Kerr dancer’ as you could get with the unfettered energy, musicality and sheer exuberance that he brings to the role.  His signature leap – with legs drawn-up underneath him – seems effortless. 

Tiny Tonia Looker is a delight as Tinkerbell: feisty and dainty, revelling in the cruel taunting of her rival, Wendy.  Elegantly danced by Katie Hurst-Saxton, Wendy’s incipient yearning, hidden under a prim exterior, is clearly expressed through her lovely arabesque-line.

Jon Trimmer as the dandified Hook and Shannon Dawson as his dim-witted foil Smee reprise their original roles with glee.  When everyone on stage is having this much fun, the effect is contagious and it is easy to be swept up in the spirited shenanigans. The audience seemed ready to suspend reality and oblige. 

Trimmer still has genuine presence, lighting-up the stage whenever he appears, with every gesture true and measured in its delivery, displaying a consummate mastery of the art of performance. 

Kerr’s strength in this production, in which he is assisted by Toby Behan, is to strip the choreography down to signature movement sequences that immediately define the characters that are being portrayed.  Thus, the stars are spangled, high-stepping chorus girls, the Lost Boys dance country hoe-down and the Mermaids undulate with Loreli-like, beguiling arm movements. 

Tiger Lily, beautifully danced by Abigail Boyle, moves stealthily, with a dignified, panther-like grace while Clytie Campbell – who doubles as the stylish Mrs Darling – creates a hilarious, butt-shaking and tooting, Neverbird.

The two boys – Michael, danced by Rory Fairweather-Neylan and John, by Jacob Chown – have a good handle on the daredevil nonchalance of young men and revel in their slapstick humorous sequences, only occasionally revealing their insecurity. 

Qi Huan as the priggish Mr Darling, also doubles as the Sun King, resplendent and narcissistic in his Louis XIV costume, oblivious to the mockery of Peter and the boys.

The inimitable designs of Kristian Fredrikson are magically lit by Jon Buswell, himself a conjurer who manages to create ethereal dream-like landscapes through illumination alone.  The flying sequences are enhanced by evocative, dry-ice ‘clouds’ and bird’s-eye film footage.

The Vector Wellington Orchestra, like the dancers, seem to be having enormous fun and give a spirited performance of Norman’s superb work, conducted by Kenneth Young.
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