As soon as I read that Dave Barry co-authored Peter and the Starcatcher, my expectations grew. I’ve adored Barry’s sense of humor for years now and the chance to see it come to life set a high bar. Peter and the Starcatcher sounds like a story for kids, and there are elements that tie the stage production to the children’s story we all know. What makes the stage production different is the grown-up humor injected into familiar stories.
Peter and the Starcatcher is a prequel to Peter Pan. It lays out the back stories of major characters. Much like I felt when I saw Wicked, it’s clear that the writers (Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson) spent a lot of time thinking about how beloved Peter Pan characters became the unique personalities we know and adore.
You can map Molly’s strength to Wendy’s leadership. You can see how Peter’s youth pushed him to do something that changed the course of his and Molly’s future. There are funny moments with Black Stache, a campy Captain Hook, which brought the audience to a laughing roar. Smee was a wonderful comic foil for Black Stache. There aren’t enough adjectives to describe how much we laughed whenever Mrs. Bumbrake came on stage. It was an easy-to-enjoy show that told a new story with an easy to understand connection to the original story.
Even though the story featured cherished childhood characters, there were plenty of nods to the grown-ups in the audience. Black Stache was one step away from being a Rocky Horror Picture Show character. Smee and Black Stache have a funny exchange which is a wink towards the playhouse. Smee mentions that people paid for their tickets and babysitters. Black Stache says something about parking and Smee mentions it’s free. Black Stache overreacts in a funny way. It is a funny exchange for everyone.
One thing we saw clearly was how much fun the actors had on stage. Oh, they took their performances seriously. Lines were delivered as rehearsed in all the proper places. Everything was polished and professional, yet you had a sense that they were having as much fun on stage as the audience was having watching the show. The second act opens with a mermaid scene that “brings down the house” as the saying goes. No actor can take himself too seriously dressed as a singing mermaid. It’s a delightful way to start the second act..
Peter and the Starcatcher is a good show for the whole family. Our twelve year old daughter enjoyed it tremendously. She won Brownie points the next day at school when she told her language arts teacher that she saw the show. You know it’s a good evening when your daughter has fun and earns extra-credit with her teacher.
Peter and the Starcatcher is at the Drury Lane Oakbrook through October 18. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit http://drurylane.com/live-theatre/now-playing/ or call 630-530-0111.
Shari writes about life with twins at Two Times the Fun. Peter and the Starcatcher image courtesy of Brett Beiner. Pictured from left to right: Caleb Donahoe (Boy), Jeff Dumas (Smee), Jake Klinkhammer (Alf), Rhett, Guter (Slank), Andrew Mueller (Fighting Prawn), Matt Mueller (Black Stache) and John Keating
Disclosure: I did receive media tickets. My words and opinions are my own.
Category: Shari's Corner