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TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE: “Peter and the Starcatcher”

April 16th, 2012

David Rossmer, Adam Chanler-Berat, Carson Elrod & the cast of "Peter and the Starcatcher". Image via O&M Co.


Based on the best-seller by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, Peter Pan gets a prequel in an imaginatively staged new play from writer Rick Elice (Jersey Boys) and directors Roger Rees and Alex Timbers (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson).

“It’s the most exhilarating example of locomotive storytelling on Broadway since the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby visited three decades ago…” New York Times

Peter soars—deliriously high and gloriously far. ” Time Out New York

“…rich in antic humor and theatrical invention, but the stardust loses potency and becomes a tad precious on a larger stage. Hollywood Reporter

“…there are laughs aplenty — largely owing to Christian Borle’s turn as bombastic buccaneer Black Stache.” Entertainment Weekly

Mizer’s Two Cents: Overstuffed as a favored child’s toy chest, the show spins with theatrical invention. It’s a kick to see how the directors will use their gifted cast, a few props and slashes of primary colored light to suggest battling ships, rampaging monsters and dizzying jungle. The script is similarly packed to the mermaid gills — careening through a classic boy’s (and, thankfully, girl’s) adventure tale while juggling decidedly sophisticated jokes (a Philip Glass one-liner?!) and a saucy British “panto” attitude. Heck, there are even songs, good enough songs that you wish they went whole hog and made it a musical.

Some may find watching this much antic imagination racing around the stage exhausting (it’s true, the show could ease off the smarty pants style and settle into a few emotional beats) but, in an entertainment world where creativity can be in short supply, it’s hard to complain about too much of a good thing. And when the show takes a breath, as in a simple encounter between a boy and a bird (played by a flapping dish glove), you feel a warm tug from the child inside who looks at an empty cardboard box but sees a pirate ship.

Now, don’t forget to enter to win tickets to the show before the end of day April 16! [PS: I wrote my review a few days ago, so don’t blame me if the Hollywood Reporter writer seems to be channeling the same language.]

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