BWW Review: PETER AND THE STARCATCHER at Stagecrafters is Wonderful, Whimsy, Magical Journey on the Stage!
Most people know the story of Peter Pan, but Stagecrafters is telling story of how he started his journey in Peter and the Starcatcher, which is currently running through December 16th at the Baldwin Theatre in Royal Oak. The play is the fantastical adventure about how Peter Pan came to be and is based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Scott with music by Wayne Barker. The exquisite staging and talented cast of Stagecrafter's Peter and the Starcatcher takes the audience on a journey they will not forget about the how Peter Pan became the legend that he is.
Peter and the Starcatcher begins on ship bound for the island of Rundoon where three orphan boys (Miles Bond, Joseph Cavanaugh, and Jody Florkowski) befriend Molly Aster (Stephanie Peltier), daughter of Starcatcher Lord Aster (Dean Gaboury), who is on a secret mission for the Queen of England. Their precious cargo is starstuff, powerful magic dust that must not fall into the wrong hands. When the villainous Black Stache (Tony Battle) and his band of pirates attack the ship, one orphan finds his courage and a legend is born.
The absolute shining star of this production was Stephanie Peltier in the role of Molly Aster. From the moment that Peltier appears it was hard not to be enamored with her and the strong, confident, bossy yet sweet Molly she portrays on the stage. She was an incredibly brilliant performer and draws the audience into the story unfolding on the stage, but at the same time, she did a wonderful job working with her castmates and playing off them and elevating both her own and their performances as well. Bravo on a magnificent performance!
Competing with Peltier for brilliance in production would be Tony Battle in the role of Black Stache. Every moment when Battle was speaking, or not speaking, he made the audience want to laugh with comedic timing that was absolutely perfect. He encompasses the Black Stache in every way and brought him to life in such a unique way. His partner in crime on the stage, Smee (Matthew Cochran,) made the perfect pair of a comedy duo. Their timing impeccable with the jokes never missing a beat and their on-stage rapport was perfect casting because it worked so well together. Some of the best parts of the production were Battle and Cochran's little interactions and jokes.
Kyle Bushre played the roles of Mrs. Bumbrake / Teacher. Trying to describe Bushre without giving away too much of his performance would be a crime. His Mrs. Bumbrake was fantastic. Go see it! Patrick Wehner played the role of Alf. Wehner was wonderful to watch on stage as he was one of those performers that the audience can tell he loves what he does. His performance of Alf was wonderful on its own, but what makes it better was when Wehner and Bushre performer together - they were an unstoppable pairing - much like Battle and Cochran. Again, another perfectly cast duo and a pair who did comedy extremely well.
The three orphan boys were a very eclectic group, but worked well together. Miles Bond played the role of Boy. Bond gave a noteworthy performance of watching who Boy was and grew to be overtime on stage. His performance ability was really highlighted in Act Two, especially in the Grotto and Beach scenes, and to not risk giving away any plot spoilers of the finale of the Peter and the Starcatcher, all that I can say is go and see Bond's performance before the run is over. Jody Florkowski played the role of Ted. Florkowski was the highlight of the three orphan boys in the hilarious role of Ted. He constantly had the audience laughing. His performance made you wish there was more of Ted in the production so you could enjoy his antics and him on the stage for longer. Joseph Cavanaugh played the role of Prentiss and rounded out the trio of boys perfectly and their chemistry together was enjoyable to watch.
Two technical notes should be mentioned in regards to this production. The first being the amazing - and this needs to repeated - amazing opening number to Act Two. Besides Peter and the Starcatcher at Stagecrafters overall being a magnificent production and people who love theatre or just want a fun night out should go see it, this needs to be given a remark. I do not want to give anything away besides letting you know that it takes place on the shore of Mollusk Island and some very gorgeous mermaids sing, "Mermaid Outta Me." It is one of my favorite local theatre moments to-date and will probably forever be one. Dan Rose (director), Molly Zaleski (choreographer), Ben Villaluz (music director), Tina Peterson (costume design) and everyone else who had a hand in this, wonderful job at bringing this hilarious, magnificent moment to life!
The second note is the fantastic set. Albeit, one of the simpler stage sets for a production; it worked wonders and did exactly what it needed to do. The rotating stage was incredible with a minimalistic set on it making it seem like the performers were traveling to far off places in a blink of an eye. It was innovative, creative and very fun to watch! Dan Rose did a superb job pulling double duty with being director and designer for this show. Rose created something truly magical!
Peter and the Starcatcher is a whimsy tale that takes the audience on an adventure to find out how the Peter Pan that we all know and love came to be. Stagecrafters did an amazing job with their production and it is one that the Detroit community should go out and experience!
Peter and the Starcatcher is currently running through December 16th at The Baldwin Theatre in Royal Oak. For more information and tickets, visit www.Stagecrafters.org.