BWW Reviews: PETER AND THE STARCATCHER Brings Magic and Brilliance to the Moore
Dear Readers, have you lost that innocence and exuberance of youth? Are you no longer fascinated by the wonder of flying boys, singing mermaids and maniacal pirates? Well then I have the cure for you. If you're a kid at heart or just a kid then you need to get out and catch the current touring production of "Peter and the Starcatcher" at the Moore Theatre brought to you by Seattle Theatre Group. Not only will it revitalize your sense of childlike wonder but it's also one of the best all around pieces of theatrical genius you could ask for.
Based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, the play by Rick Elice goes beyond a simple prequel to the stories of Peter Pan but takes you into a fantastical world where the simplest objects can become magic. In this hilarious imagining of how Peter and the lost boys became who they are, we meet Molly Aster (Megan Stern) who along with her Father Lord Aster (Nathan Hosner) has been charged with delivering a trunk full of a mysterious treasure to the remote kingdom of Rundoon for Queen Victoria. But plans fall apart as the ships carrying Molly, her Father and her Nanny Mrs. Bumbrake (Benjamin Schrader) are taken over by pirates led by the evil Black Stache (John Sanders) who means to take the treasure for himself. But this treasure is not what he expected as this treasure is not gold or diamonds but starstuff, a magical substance known only to 6 and a half people who have sworn to keep it from getting into the wrong hands. So when the Stache captures her Father, Molly and three enslaved orphan boys (Joey deBettencourt, Carl Howell and Edward Tournier) must band together to defeat the Stache and save the starstuff and her Father.
The show itself is a hilarious one filled with rich, witty dialog and enough fun for any age but directors Roger Rees and Alex Timbers have taken it so far beyond any simple play by infusing it with some of the most imaginative and innovative staging that I've seen while utilizing almost nothing. A stretch of rope is a cabin one minute and a corridor the next. Sea bound chases are told using toys. And the crocodile, oh that crocodile ... well, I don't want to give too much away. Suffice to say that if the magic of the story doesn't grab you, the magic of the staging will.
Stern and deBettencourt play off each other perfectly and inhabit the roles of children broaching into adulthood (or not) beautifully. Schrader is absolutely hysterical as the love starved but proper nanny. Sanders takes the role of the Black Stache and dives into its thoughtful insanity with both feet. His performance is at the same time chaotic and focused and he is an absolute joy to behold. And I must mention the rest of the stunning ensemble of the piece who work together like a well oiled machine as they manage to weave in and out of every scene and character shift with a seeming ease and a lightning pace.
I really cannot stress enough how incredible this show is or urge you enough to catch it before it's gone. If you're a parent looking for a wonderful outing for you and your kids, then go. If you're a fan of the Peter Pan stories and want to add a gem to the mythology, then go. If you're a theater nerd looking for a mind-blowing show, then go! Really, just go and let the starstuff bring you your wildest dreams as well. You'll laugh, you'll cry and you may even learn to fly.
"Peter and the Starcatcher" performs at the Moore Theatre through November 3rd. For tickets or information visit the Seattle Theatre Group online at www.stgpresents.org.
Photo credit: Jenny Anderson