Orlando 2016 Fringe Review: Darlings

By : Samantha Rosenthal
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Pink venue, find showtimes

It seems ever since Finding Neverland debuted on Broadway, references to Peter Pan, Wendy Darling, Captain Hook, the Lost Boys and Mr. Smee have become ubiquitous in pop culture, especially theater—and the show Darlings is a great example of the re-imagining and re-working of the ever-loved story of Peter Pan.

Playing in the Pink Venue and put on by Animal Engine Theatre Company from New York, the show features, and was created by, the company’s two artistic directors Karim Muasher and Carrie Brown, who are also husband and wife. Brown plays Mrs. Darling and Muasher plays Mr. Darling, and you’re thrust into their world the moment you step into the venue. The show is a whirlwind of pain, giddiness, longing and childish innocence, as the play tells the traditional story of Peter Pan but from a new perspective: in the eyes of the Darling parents.
The show is an example of physical devised theater at its best, which is what the Animal Engine Theater Company is known for doing in all of its three other major works that have been created and produced. With the use of devised theater, the storyline, plot and script of the show flourishes through the use of the actors’ bodies, movements and use of the props. And that was what I loved most about the show—the use of the stage and few basic props on stage. Muasher and Brown really use the props, each other and the space to recreate their home, Neverland and memories of their children.

The chemistry between Muasher and Brown is incredible and evident throughout the 60-minute show, whether it’s when he is trying to console her because of her pain from the loss of her children or when they’re playing the roles of Captain Hook and Mr. Smee.

This show will make you smile, laugh and have a heavy heart at times, but it is overall a great show and was thoughtfully created and brilliantly executed.

Extra points: At the end of the show, they gave away free small pins, asking for a small donation in return, that had a starry sky background with the words “Straight on til’ mourning” printed on them. Genius.

Read all of Watermark’s coverage of the 2016 Orlando Fringe Theatre festival here.

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