June 13, 2012

The Stuff Stars are Made Of

Peter and the Starcatcher is based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.  Like Wicked, it's the fanciful origin story of a popular character.  There's a bit of The 39 Steps thrown in, with 12 actors playing various roles, except for the Boy-Later-Known-as Peter Pan (Adam Chanler-Berat) and Molly Aster (Celia Keenan-Bolger).  The staging is whimsical, the clever dialogue interspersed with songs and dancing.  Can you name a show that managed to sneak in an Ayn Rand reference?

Molly's father has been tasked by Queen Victoria (God save her) with bringing a treasure chest to a remote island.  And where there's treasure, there's marauders.  High jinks on the high seas ensue. It is up to the feisty girl and the orphan boys in the HMS Neverland to save the day. 

The intrepid Molly is played by a winsome Ms. Keenan-Bolger.  Mr. Chanler-Berat goes from a sad, distrustful boy to an unlikely and brave hero.  The cruel pirate Black Stache is played by an over-the-top Christian Borle, who managed to crack up himself and his fellow cast members as he probably ad-libbed and hilariously hammed it up.  Other stand outs include Teddy Bergman as Fighting Prawn, Arnie Burton as Molly's nanny Mrs. Bumbrake, and Kevin del Aguila as Smee.
While the first act could have used some trimming, everything does imaginatively fall into place by the second act.  We meet Mr. Smee, the crocodile, island natives, find out how the mermaids and Tinker Bell came to be, and why the Boy didn't want to grow up. I don't want to spoil your enjoyment of this show so I won't go into too much detail.  I will stick to strongly urging you to go see this delightful show.  It will make your spirit soar.

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