Peter and the Starcatcher
Peter and the Starcatcher, the play-with-music stage adaptation of Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson's novel "Peter and the Starcatchers," has traveled from California to Off-Broadway to Broadway, back to Off-Broadway and now across the country through a national tour. The show is not just for children, though being able to view through a child's eye will enhance the experience. It's a fantastical father-daughter sea adventure, with orphans, pirates, lands far, far away, and dreams come true. It is also a prequel or backstory to the well-known tale of Peter Pan. This is not an overwhelming show like Wicked; adapted by Rick Elice, it is smaller scale, much more creatively presented, stage storybook. Credit also goes to the direction by Roger Rees and the super-clever Alex Timbers. The use of ingenious staging techniques (often, the actors themselves as props) is quite delightful.
Such an intimate show might not play perfectly to the last rows of large touring houses, but at least in the orchestra section, the shrinking the proscenium of the Heinz Hall stage works suprisingly well. The talented cast is enthusiastic, committed and accomplished in connecting with the audience and playing the abundant comedy. As Molly (maybe not a familiar name from your knowledge of the Peter Pan story, but her part in that story - as well as numerous others - is made clear), Megan Stern is a firecracker of a brave and feisty tom-boy on the way to growing up. Joey deBettencourt as Boy, eventually renamed Peter Pan, is appropriately boyish and curious. The crowd favorite in the show is Black Stache (you know, the villain) and John Sanders covers all requirementsnefarious yet foolish, obvious and funwithout going over the top. Okay, without going too far over the top.
This is perhaps too long of a story for younger children, and you do have be attentive to stay with it, but Peter and the Starcatcher is, overall, a very imaginatively staged feel good show for those who can, at least temporary, remember the days before growing up.
Peter and the Starcatcher at Heinz Hall through May 25. For tickets visit trustarts.culturaldistrict.org. For more information on the tour, visit peterandthestarcatcher.com.
Photo: Jenny Anderson
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-- Ann Miner