The AndyGram

Friday, Apr 25th

You are here: Home Theatre Reviews & Features 2011-12 Reviews Broadway Review: PETER AND THE STARCATCHER
Sunday, 22 April 2012 18:01

Broadway Review: PETER AND THE STARCATCHER

Written by 
The Cast of PETER AND THE STARCATCHER at New York Theatre Workshop The Cast of PETER AND THE STARCATCHER at New York Theatre Workshop Photo: Joan Marcus

Peter and the Starcatcher has just arrived on Broadway after last year's production at the New York Theatre Workshop and it still is an absolute delight. It has a perfect cast and ingenious direction by Roger Rees and Alex Timbers.  It tells the tale of three lost orphan boys and their adventures finding Neverland; this is the back-story of Peter Pan.  Based on the best-selling novel of the same title by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.  This production is cleverly written by Rick Elise, a Tony winner for Jersey Boys.  While parallels will be drawn between Wicked and this show, this charming show stands on its own merits.

The show has been written to tell the story using third-person narrative with characters taking turns doing the narration.  I barely noticed this potentially creaky theatrical device, which Rees and Timbers have used here to effortless effect.  The cast is superb and doesn't have a weak link among them.

Steven Hoggett is credited with movement in the playbill.  As you watch these characters transform from scene to scene, Mr. Hoggett's work is showcased as the characters morph from one character to the next; the movement is so slick.   

Press materials for the show refer to it as a play despite the presence of several musical numbers. In fact, it could actually benefit from a few more numbers.  The musical numbers that are there are very entertaining, particularly the mermaid number that opens act two detailing precisely how they became mermaids.  The music by Wayne Barker is delightful.  There are also some very creative sound effects from percussionist Deane Prouty and sound designer Darron L. West.

At the beginning of the play, the other characters call Peter "No Name."  He's an orphan; no one ever cared enough about him to give him a name.  With him are two other "lost boys,"  Prentiss and Ted (Carson Elrod and David Rossmer, respectively).  Peter is played by Adam Chanler-Berat who brings a wide-eyed joyousness to the role. (Chanler-Berat was previously seen on Broadway as the stoner boyfriend in Next to Normal.)  The three boys have been sold into slavery to the King of Rundoon. 

Two ships leave Portsmouth, the Wasp carrying a special cargo for Queen Victoria and the Neverland, a slower, safer ship carries the daughter of Lord Leonard Astor (played by Rick Holmes, who is on the Wasp guarding the special cargo for the Queen) and her nanny  The daughter Molly is played by Celia Keenan-Bolger in a performance that's played with confidence and charm. She is our story's heroine and ultimately the mother of Wendy (yes, that Wendy).  Her caretaker is Mrs. Bumbrake, played with over-the-top silliness by Arnie Burton.  Mr. Burton plays the role in men's clothing but has no problem convincing you of his matronly nature.  Other than his performance, a headband and handbag are the only thing to convince us that he is a she.

The special cargo is none other than starstuff; you might know it as fairy dust.  Lord Astor is a starcatcher, someone whose job it is to reign in and keep an eye on this potentially dangerous material.  There are only "six and a half" starcatchers in the world according to Molly, with her being the half.)  

Chasing after the "stuff" is Black Stache, a suave, cultured pirate (who eventually becomes known as Captain Hook) played by the hilarious Tony Award nominee Christian Borle.  His malaprops and inability to articulate his own name make his the most fun performance in the show to watch.  He is chasing after the trunk holding the starstuff but a decoy has been put in place by Slank (Matt D'Amico) that was to be switched with the real one while the boys were loading the boat.  After continually running into the trunk filled with sand, Black Stache quips, in one of my favorite lines of the evening, that the trunk is "as elusive as the melody in a Phillip Glass opera." 

Ultimately the Neverland crashes into an island with its cargo dumped into the sea but not before Peter rides the trunk to shore all the while leaking its starstuff.  Due to his exposure to it, Peter gets a special ability that he has always desired, the ability to fly.  Starstuff "makes you what you want to be" says one of the show's characters.  In Peters case perhaps that's flying, or perhaps it's that he never has to grow up, or perhaps it's both.

The scenic design by Donyale Werle is dark and dank in the first act and then transformed into a brightly back-lit cyclorama made of squares of gauze-like material for the second.  The lighting by Jeff Croiter is lovely and works well to help Rees and Timbers create many of the inventive theatrical devices used throughout the show.  

Peter and the Starcatcher will hold equal appeal for kids, young and old alike.  It could stand to be tightened up with perhaps 20-25 minutes trimmed off the running time. Clocking in at two hours and twenty-five minutes, the piece is a tad too long and perhaps a bit convoluted for very young children to follow.  But this child loved it. 

Additional Info

Last modified on Friday, 16 August 2013 18:02

Media

Now Playing On Broadway

More... A Raisin in the Sun    

A Raisin in the Sun

Set on Chicago’s South Side, A Raisin in the Sun revolves around the divergent dreams and conflicts within three generations of the Younger family: son Walter Lee (Denzel Washington), his…

More...
More... Act One    

Act One

Lincoln Center Theatre presents James Lapine directing his own adaptation of Moss Hart's classic autobiography which eloquently chronicles the playwright/director's impoverished childhood and his determined struggle to escape poverty and…

More...
More... Realistic Joneses, The    

Realistic Joneses, The

What do you really know about your neighbors? Toni Collette, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts and Marisa Tomei invite you to find out. Hailed by the New York Times as…

More...
More... No Man's Land    

No Man's Land

In Harold Pinter’s No Man's Land we wonder if two writers, Hirst (Patrick Stewart) and Spooner (Ian McKellen) really know each other, or are they performing an elaborate charade? The…

More...
More... Once    

Once

On the streets of Dublin, an Irish musician (Guy) and a Czech immigrant (Girl) are drawn together by their shared love of music. Over the course of one fateful week,…

More...
More... A Night with Janice Joplin    

A Night with Janice Joplin

  Like a comet that burns far too brightly to last, Janis Joplin (Mary Bridget Davies) exploded onto the music scene in 1967 for three incredible years, reigning as the…

More...
More... Chicago    

Chicago

Set amidst the razzle-dazzle decadence of the 1920s, CHICAGO is the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer who murders her lover after he threatens to walk out…

More...
More... Violet    

Violet

Two-time Tony Award® winner Sutton Foster returns to Roundabout in the highly anticipated Broadway debut of the musical Violet, following the acclaimed concert performance at City Center Encores! Off-Center. Winner…

More...
More... Rock of Ages (at Helen Hayes)    

Rock of Ages (at Helen Hayes)

In 1987 on the Sunset Strip, a small-town girl met a big-city rocker, and in L.A.’s most famous rock club, they fell in love to the greatest songs of the…

More...
More... Cabaret    

Cabaret

Based on Christopher Isherwood's The Berlin Stories, the musical is the story of Cliff, an American writer who comes to Berlin at the dawn of the Hitler era. He falls…

More...
More... Rocky    

Rocky

Somewhere in downtown Philadelphia, a down-and-out fighter named Rocky Balboa struggles to stay on his feet. But when the chance of a lifetime comes along, he takes his best shot…

More...
More... Pippin    

Pippin

Royal heir Pippin is spurred on by a mysterious group of performers to embark on a death-defying journey to find his “corner of the sky.”  The original production of PIPPIN,…

More...
More... Cinderella, Rodgers and Hammerstein's    

Cinderella, Rodgers and Hammerstein's

Rodgers & Hammerstein classic television production premieres on Broadway this spring.  It adds songs from the duo's catalog and adds a new twist to an old tale! Songs include “In…

More...
More... Matilda The Musical    

Matilda The Musical

MATILDA is the story of an extraordinary little girl who decides that despite a bad beginning filled with rotten parents, a terrifying school and a vicious head mistress, her story is…

More...
More... Kinky Boots    

Kinky Boots

Charlie Price has suddenly inherited his father’s shoe factory, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. Trying to live up to his father’s legacy and save his family business, Charlie…

More...
More... Phantom of the Opera, The    

Phantom of the Opera, The

Andrew Lloyd Webber's smash musicalization of the Gaston Leroux novel won the 1988 Tony Award for Best Musical and is now the longest-running show in Broadway history.

More...
More... All the Way    

All the Way

1963. An assassin’s bullet catapults Lyndon Baines Johnson into the presidency. A Shakespearean figure of towering ambition and appetite, the charismatic, conflicted Texan hurls himself into Civil Rights legislation, throwing…

More...
More... Mamma Mia!    

Mamma Mia!

The infectious music of ABBA provides the framework for a romp through the preparations of an unusual wedding.

More...
More... Waiting for Godot    

Waiting for Godot

Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett’s most popular play worldwide, follows two consecutive days in the lives of Vladimir (Patrick Stewart) and Estragon (Ian McKellen), who divert themselves by clowning around,…

More...
More... Lion King    

Lion King

Julie Taymor's acclaimed staging of the Disney animated film has been hailed as a Broadway landmark. The story focuses on a young lion cub's personal journey toward his destiny as…

More...
More... Wicked    

Wicked

Wicked tells the incredible untold story of anunlikely friendship between two girls who first meet as Sorcery Students at Shiz University: the blonde and very popular Glinda and a misunderstood…

More...
More... Bullets Over Broadway    

Bullets Over Broadway

Bullets Over Broadway tells the story of an aspiring young playwright (Zach Braff) newly arrived on Broadway in 1920’s New York who is forced to cast a mobster's (Vincent Pastore)…

More...
More... A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder    

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

When Monty Navarro, a disinherited relative of the rich and powerful D’Ysquith clan, learns he’s ninth in line to inherit the earldom, he sets out to secure his future by,…

More...
More... Newsies    

Newsies

Set in New York City at the turn of the century, Newsies is the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a ragged band of teenaged…

More...
More... If / Then    

If / Then

On the verge of turning 40, Elizabeth moves back to New York City, the ultimate city of possibility, intent on a fresh start - new home, new friends, and hopes…

More...
More... Bridges of Madison County, The    

Bridges of Madison County, The

The Bridges of Madison County takes us deep into the heart of our country and tells the very moving story of a beautiful young woman leaving Italy and suddenly living…

More...
More... After Midnight    

After Midnight

The evocative new musical After Midnight will take the sexy, smoky glamour of the original Jazz Age and catapult it into a whole new era of heart-pounding, mind-blowing entertainment for…

More...
More... Motown: The Musical    

Motown: The Musical

Motown: The Musical is the real story of the one-of-a-kind sound that hit the airwaves in 1959 and changed our culture forever. This exhilarating show charts Motown Founder Berry Gordy's…

More...
More... Jersey Boys    

Jersey Boys

Jersey Boys tells the rags-to-riches story of one of the greatest successes in pop music history. Go behind the music of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, and meet four…

More...
More... Book of Mormon, The    

Book of Mormon, The

The Book of Mormon tells the story of two young Mormon missionaries sent off to spread the word in a dangerous part of Uganda. Their tale is told alongside the…

More...
More... Beautiful - The Carole King Musical    

Beautiful - The Carole King Musical

Beautiful tells the inspiring true story of Carole King’s remarkable rise to stardom from being part of a chart-topping songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with…

More...
More... Mothers and Sons    

Mothers and Sons

Tackling national themes in the most intimate of settings, Mothers and Sons is Terrence McNally at his most uncompromising, compassionate and revealing. Twenty years after her son's death, a mother…

More...
Frontpage Slideshow | Copyright © 2006-2012 JoomlaWorks Ltd.