FORT WORTH -- The little girl who wouldn't grow up can still play the little boy who wouldn't grow up.
The 60-year-old star of Cathy Rigby is Peter Pan, the touring production that opened an eight-performance stand at Bass Hall on Tuesday, showed that she remains as ageless as her character with a fairy-dust-sprinkled performance of the classic Jerome Robbins musical that defied both time and gravity.
If the former Olympic gymnast has lost any of her athletic agility, it was hard to discern as she did handstands and somersaults, climbed the walls and, of course, flew enough to qualify for sufficient frequent-filer miles to pay for a trip to Europe. And she didn't just soar above the stage. She did all sorts of twists and flips in midflight, looking like she was about to receive 10s from everybody (except for a 4 from the Russian judge).
There were those who said there were wires involved in Rigby's flights. But if you saw them, you must have been using grown-up eyes that had no business being in the hall. Any child knows the flying was real.
The singing and dancing by an exceptional cast have been honed razor-sharp by months of touring. The production numbers featuring the whole ensemble are stunningly good. And the players' jobs are made easier by a large pit orchestra lead by music director and conductor Bruce Barnes.
The sets and costumes are fabulous, including highly clever approaches to creating the dog and the crocodile in this story of pirates, Indians and hand-eating reptiles.
And the special effects, such as the mischievous ball of light that plays Tinkerbell, are extremely effective and well executed.
Rigby has said that this is the last time around for Peter and her. Don't miss this show. And, if at all possible, take a child along. A real one will be fine. But don't leave behind that inner child that we all should take out once in a while.
That is Rigby's greatest lesson to us all.