Rigby grows into 'Pan' role

March 19, 1998|By Mike Giuliano | Mike Giuliano,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Cathy Rigby is really wired, and it's not just a matter of the wire that enables her to fly through the air above the Mechanic Theatre stage in "Peter Pan."

The former Olympic gymnast is a petite dynamo. She has more than enough boyish energy to portray that fabled boy who refuses to grow up.

Her athletic skills come as no surprise, and by now her theatrical savvy also is well-established. Any doubts there might have been about her singing and acting abilities were resolved when she last flew into the Mechanic as Peter Pan in 1990.

Rigby's completely at home in Neverland. When Rigby last appeared locally in this part, she had some girlish mannerisms that detracted from the Lost Boys' club atmosphere. Now she can strike adolescent macho poses with the best of them. And her voice comes across loud and clear.

Although Rigby still hasn't acquired enough emotional nuance to challenge the definitive stamp put on this role by Mary Martin, the paucity of pathos in this production's final scene is a relatively minor disappointment.

That's because the show as a whole rides high on Rigby's perkiness and on lively supporting performances by those who play the three children spirited away by Peter Pan, Elisa Sagardia as Wendy, Michael LaVolpe as John and Drake English as Michael.

As their Darling mother, Barbara McCulloh is unfortunately too much the haughty socialite and not sufficiently maternal. Faring better as their Darling father is Paul Schoeffler, who strikes the right balance between crustiness and paternal concern; the same actor also makes for an enjoyably evil Captain Hook, though he would benefit from a tad more genuine menace.

Also making director Glenn Casale's production shine are vibrant choreography by Patti Colombo; a boisterous pit orchestra; pretty costumes by Shigeru Yaji; and scenery by John Iacovelli that is both comforting and threatening.

'Peter Pan'

Where: Mechanic Theatre

When: Tuesday through Saturday at 7: 30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6: 30 p.m.

Tickets: $35.50-$58.50

Call: 410-752-1200

Pub Date: 3/19/98

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