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He's got his hooks in 'Peter Pan,' in a tent at OCPAC

October 2, 2010 |  8:15 am
Hook Apart from the technical razzle dazzle of the new production of "Peter Pan" is the centerpiece performance of actor Jonathan Hyde. In the play, which opens Sunday in Costa Mesa on the grounds of the Orange County Performing Arts Center complex -- and which is the subject of a story in Sunday's Arts and Books section -- Hyde plays the roles of the children's father, Mr. Darling, and, most notably, the celebrated Captain Hook.
Onstage as much as any other character in the play, Hyde's Captain Hook reeks paranoia at every turn. His fear of his enemies is real and palpable -- there's dread and disdain for kids, ("let's obliterate the children"), the ominously ticking crocodile ("Why is that crocodile the only female who has ever shown any interest in me?") and, ultimately, his arch-enemy, Peter Pan ("I want him dead!").
Hyde, 62, has performed this role about 350 times in London, San Francisco and now Orange County. He is not unfamiliar with working in Southern California -- in addition to playing the Earl of Kent in the Ian McKellen "King Lear," which had a sold-out run at UCLA in 2007, the actor spent time at the Arboretum in Arcadia filming the 1997 movie "Anaconda."
Around that same period he shuttled back and forth on the 405 Freeway from Los Angeles to Rosarito Beach in Baja for the filming of "Titanic." In James Cameron's blockbuster, Hyde played the role of J. Bruce Ismay, the chairman and managing director of the White Star line, owner and operator of the ill-fated luxury liner.

When asked about the fiery temperament of Cameron, and whether Hyde is channeling any of the movie's director into his personification of Hook, the actor laughed and demurred, though he did acknowledge that "on set, Jim was fairly furious and fearless, and he served up some pretty fabulous pyrotechnics when things weren't going right. Which, I suppose, is also something Captain Hook's nature."

Click here for an interactive graphic of the Neverland tent.

-- Christopher Smith

Photo: Jonathan Hyde as Captain Hook. Credit: David Allen.


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