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Peter and the Starcatcher

a Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY
by Rick Elice

COMPANY : Act 3 Productions [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Act 3 Playhouse [WEBSITE]
ID# 5443

SHOWING : February 08, 2019 - February 24, 2019

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Tony-­winning "Peter and the Starcatcher" upends the century­old story of how a miserable orphan comes to be The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up (a.k.a. Peter Pan). From marauding pirates and jungle tyrants to unwilling comrades and unlikely heroes, "Peter and the Starcatcher" playfully explores the depths of greed and despair... and the bonds of friendship, duty and love.

A young orphan and his mates are shipped off from Victorian England to a distant island ruled by the evil King Zarboff. They know nothing of the mysterious trunk in the captain’s cabin, which contains a precious, otherworldly cargo. At sea, the boys are discovered by a precocious young girl named Molly, a Starcatcher­-in-­training who realizes that the trunk’s precious cargo is starstuff, a celestial substance so powerful that it must never fall into the wrong hands. When the ship is taken over by pirates – led by the fearsome Black Stache, a villain determined to claim the trunk and its treasure for his own – the journey quickly becomes a thrilling adventure.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Spencer G. Stephens
Fighting Prawn Andrew Joseph Andersen
Alf Jim Dailey
Captain Scott Kate Johnson
Smee Brock Kercher
Bill Slank Liane Lemaster
Ted Summer McCusker
Black Stache Shane Murphy
Boy/Peter Jon Vertullo
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REVIEWS

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Starstuff
by playgoer
Monday, February 18, 2019
4.5
A truly successful children’s show takes ample advantage of the imagination of the audience. Elements like floating cats and crocodiles don’t actually need to exist on stage; a cat puppet above a floor-length piece of fabric or white gloves as teeth and two red lights as eyes can suggest these elements. And when the members of the cast take on a variety of roles in the telling of the tale, imagination and acting skill let split-second changes ring totally true. In Act3’s production of "Peter and the Starcatcher," an environment has been created that embraces the theatricality of storytelling.

You enter into an auditorium decorated with rope and nets and chests. The set (designed by Theresa Dean) amplifies this nautical theme with furled sails and ladders on the walls, barrels and chests and boxes beneath. Ben Sterling’s lighting design is pretty basic, with not all action clearly lit as it moves about the stage, but his sound design is excellent, both in terms of effects and in terms of John-Michael d’Haviland’s accompaniment to the several songs that populate the script. Dawn Zachariah’s props and Jillian Melko’s costumes do more than any other technical elements to make the show come to life. It’s a delight to see costume pieces swapped about, with new ones appearing every whipstitch.

Director Spencer G. Stephens has inspired his cast to create indelible characters that skate the line of being over the top. The intimate confines of the theatre let each nuance be seen, while the near-constant activity takes the eye in all sorts of directions. The show has been delightfully cast. Liane LeMaster is terrific as ruthless ship’s captain Bill Slank, and Shane Murphy and Brock Kercher exude energy as the pirate Black Stache and his sidekick Smee. Tiffany Jarman Jansen is a delight as governess Mrs. Bumbrake, and Stuart Schleuse gives two very different spins to his two characters. Summer McCusker triumphs as Ted, despite the fact that she is anything but the tubby boy the script suggests. The rest of the ensemble (Audrae Peterson, Carson Seabolt, Jim Dailey, Kate Johnson, Andrew Andersen, Sofia Palmero, and Paul Danner) each get their moments to shine too. Kyndal Jackson as Molly and Jon Vertullo as Peter give us a heroine and hero we care about.

"Peter and the Starcatcher" loses steam in the last few minutes, as moments accumulate to make this play an obvious prequel to James Barrie’s "Peter Pan." The fun of the adventures we’ve seen leads to a somewhat dry and somber ending that denies us the happy resolution of a hero and heroine finally joining forces to go on to live a life of utter joy. That’s all in the script, though, targeting the show to a non-child-filled audience. Even so, Spencer G. Stephens has assembled all sorts of elements that will appeal to audiences of all ages in Act3’s production. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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