Audience Meets Unhappy Young Boy Before He Became High-Flying “Peter Pan”
Reviewed by Tom Jones
March 18, 2016
A generation before Peter Pan flew into Wendy’s London bedroom window, he was a very sad young orphan, abused by the British system, with only a couple of orphan friends. Life was hard and un-relenting until he met the sassy and spirited Molly who was enroute on the Neverland ship to meet up with her father in Rundoon. After Molly and Peter meet on the ship, their two lives would never be the same.
Humorist Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson came up with the prequel to Peter Pan, in the form of a children’s book in 2004. The story they wrote has been expanded, and is now playing on the stage of Boulder’s Dinner Theatre as “Peter and the Starcatcher.” Staging is very clever, and the talented cast is in full gear taking the audience on a wild tale with several stops enroute.
I felt as if I were sometimes “lost at sea,” as I was required to pay very close attention to what was being said as well as what was being shown. There are two ships on land, on the sea, and back on land. And there is a wild island inhabited by very strange Mollusks, and some crazy mermaids wishing to enchant and lead everyone astray.
Nick Sugar is director and choreographer of this wild storm-tossed tale. He has assembled a terrific cast, giving them explicit instructions as to just where to be and just how to move to keep the show (and ships) afloat. Standouts are many, headed by Sarah Grover as Molly and Scott Beyette as Black Stache. Sarah Grover is totally “in charge” for most of the show, but giving space to Scott Beyette to provide great fun as the over-the-top pirate. Especially in the second act when he loses his hand, and will eventually be known as “Captain Hook.” Jack Barton is very good as the doleful “Boy” with no name – who eventually becomes Peter. Bob Hoppe is crazed, playing Mrs. Bumbrake, Molly’s shipboard nanny, and several other bits and pieces.
Brian Burron is in fine form as Lord Aster, Molly’s ambassador father, who is trying to confuse pirates by shipping two cargos on two different ships, one with star stuff (magical stardust), the other with sand. The star stuff is dust that falls from shooting stars and possesses magical properties. The Starcatcher is an individual appointed by the Queen of England to dispose of star stuff so people with evil intentions are unable to use it. It is up to the pirates, and the audience to figure out which container is which. After a while I gave up trying to keep track, and just traveled along for the fun of the voyage.
“Peter and the Starcatcher” was the most-honored play in the 2011-2012 Tony Award Season. It is a play with music. The music is pleasant, and more would have been helpful, as the story sometimes drags. While the book was written as a children’s story, the play is directed to adults.
This is a show for imagination. The creative team has great imagination, putting together high hilarity one moment, fear and pathos the next. The audience is required to use its imagination, accepting a piece of rope as a wall, a window, and a staircase. A ladder becomes a mountain, and flickers of stardust become Tinker Bell.
This is one of the most unusual productions you may see this year. Bring your enthusiasm for clever theatre, your creative thoughts, and your willingness to accept the unexpected, and you’ll be in for a joyous evening. You’ll even find an enraged crocodile who has swallowed a clock!
“Peter and the Starcatcher”
Through May 14, 2016
BDT Stage – Boulder’s Dinner Theatre
5501 Arapahoe Avenue
Boulder, CO 80303
For Information: Telephone: 303/449-6000
Or visit online: www.BDTStage.com