NBC’s Peter Pan Live!: Falling props, tangoing pirates and missed lip-syncs

The live musical was both celebrated and unceremoniously panned, depending on whether people wanted to believe in fairies or simply to hate-watch

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The Independent Culture

The three-hour live performance of Peter Pan shown on NBC needed more than just a sprinkling of fairy dust to get off the ground, if the critics are anything to go by.

The American broadcast network aired the three-hour long Peter Pan Live! on Wednesday night, complete with Christopher Walken as Hook, Girls’ Allison Williams as Peter with Minnie Driver narrating the tale.

Unfortunately, reaction to the show has been less than praising: the cast certainly flew but their wires were hardly covered up, the scenes were clunky, some props managed to fall apart during the show, Walken appeared to miss his lip-syncs in places and, well, the pirates were exceptionally camp.


Walken, known for the dancing skills he so gallantly showed off in Fat Boy Slim’s ‘Weapon of choice’ and a certain scene in King of New York, appeared stiffer than expected during the dance numbers, and he fell quiet when singing high notes.

The good quality of Williams’ teeth became a phenomenon in itself and her English accent, while a noble effort, was clipped and fantastically posh.

The Associated  Press’s review said the show veered into parody with “a Captain Hook with Walken that seemed like a failed Saturday Night Live sketch about Johnny Depp,” while Gawker simply branded it the “worst three-hour drag show we’ve ever seen”.

But overall, the adaptation of JM Barrie served a purpose for NBC. Whether good or bad, people up and down the United States were tuning in to watch.


“There aren’t too many things left that reliably bring in ultra large-live television audiences these days outside of sporting events and awards shows, but NBC appears to be nursing a strategy that Lifetime has already embraced: courting hate-watchers,” the Washington Post claimed.

It pointed out that the network clearly put money into the show’s sets, and that its producers knew how to have a good sense of humour, too: “When Walken completely punted a high note during one of his numbers, NBC cut in on once, but twice during commercials to show Walken belting out random notes”.

Many viewers expressed disappointment that there was a real dog on set but not a real crocodile, proving that some people will simply never be satisfied.