Peter Pan, that familiar little scamp, always seems to get away with his shenanigans scot free. We’re meant to root for him despite his egomania and thoughtlessness because he represents the supposedly charming naivete of eternal boyhood. But in writer/director Jeremy Menekseoglu’s final entry in his “Peter Pan’s Shadow” trilogy (of which I unfortunately did not see the first two entries), we see a much-less-lovable incarnation of Peter (played with petulant cocksurety by Menekseoglu) and maybe even begin to understand the benefit of growing up.
In a post-apocalyptic Neverland devoid of life, Peter enlists his only remaining companion, Tinker Bell (a heartbreakingly sad-eyed Katherine Swan), in a harebrained plot to collect a mermaid, a pirate, a member of the Pickaninny tribe, a bird and a buffalo in order to restore Neverland to its former glory and bring Wendy back. The ragtag group that Peter gathers together includes the not-so-tough pirate Smee (Vinnie Lacey), the sultry Tiger Lily (Megan Merrill) and a mermaid’s decapitated head (played with sparkling panache by Sarah Scanlon).
With minimal props, and projections providing most of the scenery, this cast expertly delivers the dark comedy, quietly building the show up to its rather cathartic finale. It’s a tough trick to do a lot with a little, but in just under ninety minutes (including a ten-minute intermission) in their relatively compact space, Dream Theatre manages to make the audience feel that they’re watching a much bigger show than they are. With an engaging script and an impressive cast, this “Peter Pan” flies without strings. (Zach Freeman)
Dream Theatre Company, 556 West 18th, (773)552-8616. Through December 16. $18.