BWW Reviews: Fun, Puns and Tons of Imagination, PETER AND THE STARCATCHER
The show starts immediately. People are still milling around trying to find their seat when the first few words are uttered. But from the moment they are said, the audience in the palm of this production.
I woke up Tuesday morning excited to see a pretty good production but what I didn't expect was to see something truly spectacular. As a prequel to the beloved and classic tale of PETER PAN, Rick Elice's PETER AND THE STARCATCHER is full of imagination, wordplay and quick wit. It uses a tightly synchronized crew of performers and manages to tread the fine line of being family-friendly while also throwing in a few jokes solely for the adults in the house.
Now before there was Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Wendy and those two annoying little brothers---there was just a boy who didn't have a name (Joey deBettencourt), a couple orphan friends (Carl Howell and Edward Tournier), a "starcatcher" named Molly (Megan Stern) and a ship named Neverland. What begins as a game of follow the leader for food quickly becomes a wild, wacky and outlandish mission to save the stolen treasure of Queen Victoria from a crew of pirates, lead by the man with a notable lawn on the lip, Black Stache (John Sanders).
In a production of this nature it's hard to pinpoint just one or even a few fantastic performances---this cast runs deep. Most of the actors play multiple roles, zipping around the stage from one end to the other seamlessly becoming a man, a boat, a door or even a mermaid. Yes, there are mermaids in this show and they are glorious. From the very first second, this cast and crew are in a steady and energized sync that doesn't let up until the very end---in fact, the energy might even build from beginning to end.
Directors Roger Rees and Alex Timbers create a production that moves the action and never lingers too long; requiring one to pay attention, stay invested and really immerse themselves in this "play with music" from beginning to end. All the while, the actors are allowed to play on a set brilliantly designed by Donyale Werle and lighting designed by Jeff Croiter, that really captures the whimsical nature of the script.
Full of physicality, a never-ending commitment to wordplay, and creative artistry that pushes your imagination to new heights, PETER AND THE STARCATCHER is a one of the most inventive productions I've ever seen. Well played, Elice. Well played.
The Orpheum, 910 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, 1.800.982.2787, hennepintheatretrust.org
Photo Credit: Megan Stern (Molly) and Joey deBettencourt (Boy) from the PETER AND THE STARCATCHER Tour Company. Directed by Roger Rees and Alex Timbers, musical direction by Andy Grobengieser, costume design by Paloma Young. Photo by Jenny Anderson.