NEW YORK (Reuters) - More than 9 million people tuned in to watch a high-flying Allison Williams as Peter Pan and a tap-dancing Christopher Walken as Captain Hook in a live television production of the classic musical that drew mixed reactions from fans and critics.
The three-hour “Peter Pan Live!” that aired on NBC on Thursday night on the Comcast-owned network followed last year’s live production of “The Sound of Music.” It drew half the 18.5 million viewers who saw last year’s show, NBC said.
But not everyone was enthralled by the latest version of the beloved children’s story about the boy who refuses to grow up and the one-handed pirate.
Viewers who found the production lackluster, wooden or odd turned to social media to vent their disappointment.
“Weird that the ‘lost boys’ are grown men,” tweeted actress Mia Farrow.
“I‘m watching #Peter Pan but it looks more like a gay pride parade,” comedian Dane Cook said on Twitter.
“Honestly at this point, I‘m just sticking around to see that psycho in the crocodile outfit again,” tweeted Adam Lusici.
Oscar winner Walken, 71, drew the most varied comments for his laid-back, sashaying portrayal of Hook, which some likened to an aging Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films.
“Christopher Walken can kill anyone on this stage anytime he likes. The only thing stopping him is his lack of interest,” said TV viewer Maureen Johnson.
But another fan named Matt Anderson tweeted, “Tap dancing Christopher Walken might just have saved this crapfest.”
Williams, of the hit HBO show “Girls,” won praise for her singing but lost points for her faltering British accent.
The Hollywood Reporter said Williams could sing and act and credited the actress for her performance in a role that called for “a fair amount of physical effort, much of it on wires.”
“Williams held her own and in the process held the show together,” it added.
Variety described her voice as “perfectly fine” but noted she was less boyish and buoyant than other actresses who have played Peter Pan.
“It’s been 60 years since Mary Martin soared in a live NBC production of J.M. Barrie’s story, bringing a nice symmetry to this holiday telecast,” the trade magazine said.
“But that was nearly a lifetime ago - certainly before the age of social media, creating an army of buccaneers eager to pick such a project apart in real time,” it added.
Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Dan Grebler