Peter Pan leaves sports fan a ballet convert

AS A sports lover, I forgive non-sports lovers who roll their eyes whenever conversation turns to footy or cricket.

I always figure it must be as interesting for them as ballet or opera would be for me.

Sure, I can acknowledge when there is an incredible amount of skill involved in something.

But I don't have the depth of understanding to truly appreciate it - same as they can't appreciate six hours of Test cricket a day for five days.

But I was wrong, about myself at least, as I discovered last week when I saw my first ballet performance.

With my wife, eight-year-old daughter and six-year-old son I attended the Queensland Ballet's production of Peter Pan at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre at South Bank.

I went in with no expectations, but left a convert.

Peter Pan proved accessible to all, from six-year-olds to sceptical 41-year-old ex-rugby players.

The story line was obviously Peter Pan, so anyone, adult or child, familiar with the story could follow the plot.

But the production and performance raised it from a familiar story to something wonderful.

At times it was mesmerising, with the dancing, choreography and music melding magically.

The dancing accentuated the mood of the music and vice-versa while the use of light, screens and shadows added layers to the plot and the visual feast.

Hook's maniacal prancing contrasted with Peter's muscular elegance, Wendy was earnest and graceful and the Lost Boys provided the comic relief, along with Wendy's baby brother who nearly stole the show with his (her) effervescent display.

In some ways the ballet was more revealing and descriptive than any literature, with metaphors (one character seemed to be Captain Hook's inner-child who, if shown a bit of love and affection, would not have turned into a tyrant), sub plots, humour and high emotion, all portrayed vividly without a word.

Perhaps the toughest part was choosing where to focus during any one scene.

While the lead dancers were exquisite, with their grace and athleticism highlighted by the music, there was constant movement and action from the support dancers to catch the eye.

But there was also great reward in losing the focus on individuals and taking in the entire scene as a broader whole.

Queensland Ballet’s stellar production of Peter Pan is something theatre lovers shouldn’t miss.
Queensland Ballet’s stellar production of Peter Pan is something theatre lovers shouldn’t miss. Photo David Kelly

When you did this, particularly in the scenes that were not so much plot-oriented but purely provided for visual and aural stimulation, it became hypnotic.

Then the movement, music, colour and light became one, in a manner this ignorant correspondent had not previously experienced from any art form.

The show is sensibly divided into three parts with two intermissions, ensuring young children didn't have to sit still and quiet for too long. It wasn't a problem for our eight-year-old, who watched entranced throughout.

Our six-year-old's attention occasionally drifted away from the show. The biggest problem was getting them to keep their excitement to themselves.

Every time they recognised something they had to share it with everyone within earshot.

When it was over we had the luxury of a walk across the Brisbane River, through the Botanic Gardens to our suite at the Oaks Aurora Tower, on Queen St.

On the 31st floor of the 67-storey building our views were incredible, from the Story Bridge and river below us to what seemed like most of south-east Queensland.

The kids loved the heated pool and to walk down to the river front for breakfast in the sunshine topped off a fantastic experience for the whole family.

*The writer was hosted by Qld Ballet Company and Oaks.


Queensland Ballet's Peter Pan

Queensland Ballet's Peter Pan runs until July 11, 2015 at QPAC's Playhouse Theatre.

Tickets start from $50 per child (13 and under) and $95 per adult (tickets are limited)


Oaks Aurora

One bedroom apartments start from $137 per night and two bedroom apartments start from $232 per night (minimum two-night stay).

420 Queen St, Brisbane or 1300 661 903

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