Peter And The Starcatcher, a most magical evening of madcap fun comes to Dayton's Schuster Center.
Peter And The Starcatcher (a grown-up's prequel to Peter Pan) is at The Schuster June 9-14. Recommended for ages 13 and up.
Every theatrical production tells a story, but no other show does it exactly like ‘Peter and the Starcatcher.’ Many of the customary components of a Broadway series show were not present, but despite the absence of lavish set pieces, a full orchestra, and dazzling special effects a compelling story is still told. Part of the magic of ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ is how it requires the audience to use their imagination in order to be whisked away on a fun filled adventure. At the Schuster Center through June 14, ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ provides a unique experience.
Much like sequels have been a popular trend, prequels are becoming common too (Thanks ‘WICKED’). ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ is the prequel to ‘Peter Pan,’ and is based on the novel written by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. That’s about all I knew about it going in, so I didn’t really know what to expect, yet I didn’t get what I expected. However, I left satisfied with what I got, which I expected. Make sense?
Honestly, I was in a similar web of confusion during the opening minutes of the show as I wasn’t sure who was who and what was exactly going on. I knew just enough to get by, which is how I live most of my life anyway. There are two ships, one named Neverland (sound familiar?), going on two separate missions. The ships are portrayed with models that actors hold up and wave through the air. In one of the ships is Molly (Justine Salata), a teenaged girl with the gift of speaking languages such as Dodo bird, Norwegian and a variety of other dialects, plus some other special powers. Salata is splendid as Molly, masterfully capturing ever range of emotion the character portrays. Also on the same ship are three orphan boys, one of whom doesn’t even have a name. Any idea who he might grow-up to be? Hint…grow-up is poor choice of words, as he’ll always just be a boy. The boy in question is played by Rhett Guter, who succeeds at playing such an iconic character.
The trio of boys, along with Molly, end up having to protect a trunk of magical stardust away from the pirates, led by the villainous Black Stache. I’m unsure of Black Stache’s sword fighting skills, but his one liners are pretty lethal. A flamboyant Captain, somewhat reminiscent of Austin Powers, Black Stache (Leo Ash Evens) is able to steal scenes if nothing else. He’s joined by his sidekick and eventual right-hand man, Smee (Jose Restrepo), who provides more comic relief.
Extra credit is given to the entire cast, not only for the individual parts they play, but also for the scenery they perform. By them standing in a line, and the audience using their imagination, the inner walls of the ship are formed. They also use basic props to create complex images such as a monstrous alligator’s mouth and a ferocious ocean. A caste of twelve serves as almost twice as many characters, including Oliver Wadsworth who crosses genders to play Mrs. Bumbrake. Special mention, must also go to the lighting, which often gets overlooked, but really helps set the scenes in this production.
Though not a musical, there are two or three songs featured, including one sung by a chorus of cross-dressing mermaids to open the second act. Throughout the show the cast’s voices united all together in word to create a blessed sound. There were some instances especially near the end, where it seemed like someone would break out in a song, but the points were made without it, and the musical numbers weren’t missed.
Several revelations about Peter Pan are revealed, including why never ages, how Tinker Bell was formed, and what Molly ever had to do with anything, which I spent the whole show wondering. Plus, in the biggest laugh getting moment, we see how Captain Black Stache becomes in need of a hook.
‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ is full of wit and is a delightful show, just expect to see something a little different from the norm. It might take a little while to get used to, but trust me, it will be worth it in the end.
PRE-SHOW SPECIAL FLIGHT:
Earn your pirate’s eye patch by sailing the high seas, swashbuckling safely, and sampling several rums with your fellow sailors. Join us Friday, June 12 at 7 p.m. for A FLIGHT OF RUM! Pre-show flights let you socialize (and learn) before select Premier Health Broadway Series performances. Tickets to pre-show flights are sold separately and are $10 each. You must also have a ticket to that night’s performance. Call Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630 or (888) 228-3630 to add a pre-show flight to your performance.
Mike Woody is a life long resident of Dayton, and has a passion for writing, which is good because he doesn't excel at much of anything else, except eating.
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