A Plethora of Pirates, Pranks and a Painted Stache

Slow Burn's "Peter and the Starcatcher", now playing at the Broward Center's Abdo New River Room, has the wittiest of scripts. Two and a half hours of piratical jokes, puns, buffoonery and tom foolery, a synonym sea on which two sailing ships, HMS Wasp and the dubious cargo ship Neverland trail each other from England to the island Kingdom of Rundoon. The Royal Navy's Wasp carries a chest belonging to the Queen of England. It is escorted by Lord Aster. The Neverland also carries a chest, this one filled with lost boys from the local orphanage. It also carries Molly, the teen aged daughter of Lord Aster, who for plot purposes cannot sail with her father on the Wasp.

Patrick Fitzwater's brilliant staging makes "Peter and the Starcatcher" a busy show. Its stage wide wooden set becomes the ships' decks, cabins, bowels, bilge dungeon, two ships trashed in a hurricane, a mountain top lookout, a jungle, a crocodile's cage, an underground grotto, a stormy night and a beach. The special effects are imaginative and great fun. A cat is flung in all directions at once. The cat also flies. As do birds. The ships sail and roll in the weather, the water wets, and Peter almost drowns. Ropes do great things.

Eleven actors run from scene to scene, dancing, singing, fighting, loving, and yelling at 95% on the Let's Act Funnier and Louder Scale, which kind of kills the wonderfully clever script.

But don't worry, kids, for here comes the twelfth actor to the rescue. It's Mighty Mou...No, it's Clay Cartland as the world's favorite pirate captain, Black Stache. Cartland's physicality, from pratfalls to the twitch of an eyebrow is outstanding. And all with great taste. His is the show role, and he takes every moment of it. His middle name should be"Focus"because it's impossible to look elsewhere when he's on stage.

Peter, who goes on to be Pan, and you guessed that, didn't you, is played by Jordan Armstrong in a winning and touching performance.

Mathew Korinko is the dodo speaking (don't ask) Lord Aster, worried about his daughter but more so about the Starstuff which should be the answer to a maiden's prayer. The maiden being daughter Molly, a precocious teenager, played by Krystal Millie Valdes who unfortunately replaces clarity with diction speed.

Mrs Bumbrake, a name once heard never to be forgotten, is Molly's nanny played by Noah Levine, spinning a marvelously alliterative monologue whilst wearing a mob cap and apron to delineate his gender change.

Cameron Jordan is Black Stache's first mate Smee. Smee, another smoochingly glorious name. Right up there with Fighting Prawn, chief of the Mollusk Islanders, played by Andrew Rodriquez-Triana, and of course, his son, Hawking Clam, played by Joseph Pino. And if you want a greasy, nasty, sly and violent ship's captain, why it's couthless Bill Slank, also played by Joseph Pino.

Those stuck with the less memorable names are the always starving, lost boy Ted, played by Corey Vega, Captain Scott of the Wasp, played by Johnbarry Green, and Alf, panting pursuer of Mrs Bumbrake, played by Ben Sandomir. Robert Fritz is the petulant Prentiss, third of the lost boy trio.

Rick Elice wrote "Peter and the Starcatcher" with music by Wayne Barker. It's based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.

Director Patrick Fitzwater is also the choreographer, the music director is Anthony Campisi and the sound is by Rich Szczublewski. Michael McClain designed the multipurpose set. Lighting by Jose Santiago.

Slow Burn Theatre's "Peter and the Starcatcher" plays at the Broward Center through November 26 then moves to the Aventura Arts and CulturalCenter November 30 through December 3. Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Avenue, Ft.Lauderdale, 954.462.0222.

Aventure Arts and Cultural Center, 3385 NE 188th Street, Aventura. 954.462.0222.

Also, Old School Square in Delray Beach, Dec. 7, 8 and 10.

Photo: Clay Cartland and cast

Credit: Rodrigo Balfanz

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From This Author Roger Martin

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