On a beautiful spring day in New York City, a group of NYC dads and their children meandered through Central Park. The journey was filled with nature, laughter and play as they descended on one of the most enchanting locations in the whole of the lush urban oasis – Swedish Cottage. The rustic little building, a structure that could easily pass as a ski chalet, is home to the wonderful City Parks Foundation’s wonderful Marionette Theatre — one of the best kid-friendly theater experiences in New York City.
I was among these fortunate fathers and children that day. Once inside Swedish Cottage, my 3-year old daughter settled cozily on my lap. Soon the curtains on the stage before us lifted and we were thrust into the latest production, Neverland: Peter Returns.
During this adventure, Wendy, Michael and John follow Peter Pan and Tinker Bell to Neverland — a tale beautifully told through intricate and visually stunning marionette puppets.
The performance caters to children of all ages and made the parents wish we never had to grow up. Giggles erupted from our tots as the multi-string puppets sang, danced and flew around the stage. Beyond the wonderful visuals, the story that unfolded was engaging and had depth. Themes of friendship, jealousy and forgiveness emerged through this entertaining performance. The 45-minute show flew by rapidly and seemed to be the right amount of time to captivate our children.
The production surprised us at the show’s end when the real people and voices behind the marionette puppets were introduced. Next, the puppeteers showed the audience how the “magic” happens with an informative demonstration on how string puppets function.
Neverland: Peter Returns was an entertaining delight. The show runs several times a week through September 2018 which is good because it gives us some time to see it again this summer.
Parental notes for ‘Neverland: Peter Returns’:
- Yes, there are pirates, but there was nothing scary about the conflict in the performance.
- The venue gets dark at times during the show so be cautious if you have a little one that’s scared of the dark.
- Each seat is general admission, close to the stage, and on rows of park benches.
- Pricing is $12 for adults (13 and over), $8 for children (18 months – 12 years of age).
Disclosure: The City Parks Foundation provided complimentary tickets for NYC Dads Group members to attend this show. The opinions expressed in this review are 100 percent our own.