Peter and the Starcatcher
Playwright: Rick Elice
Composer: Wayne Barker
Original Novel: Dave Barry/Ridley Pearson
Venue: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, SaGaJi Theatre, 30 W. Dale Street, Colorado Springs CO.
Running Time: 2 hours 40 minutes (includes 15 minute intermission)
Date of Performance: Friday, April 1, 2016.
If there’s anything we know for sure about J. M. Barrie’s play Peter Pan, it’s that it never grows old. Like its title character, it is as fresh today, in all it’s stage and film variations, as when it opened in 1904. The latest proof that Barrie’s work continues to thrive is Peter and the Starcatcher (hereafter Peter), a prequel to Peter Pan, now showing at the Fine Arts Center (hereafter FAC).
Producing Peter is a herculean task; 12 local actors play more than 100 roles on a constantly shifting set. That set, designed by Christopher L. Sheley, is part genius, part meticulous planning, and 100% hard work. It’s probably the most complicated set ever for the FAC stage. Take a close look at it when you take your seat. The show starts with a massive wooden ship that dominates the entire stage. It looks like real timber, because it is real timber, and that’s just the first of many elaborate set pieces.
Lighting Designer Jonathan Spencer also has a few tricks up his sleeve. I’ve never seen what appears to be flexible rope strobe lighting, but Sheley lights up the sky with about a hundred linear feet of it. Janson Fangio’s costumes are detailed and appealing, but never more so than at the beginning of Act 2. Don’t be late after intermission; this cast in these costumes is a must see scene.
With such a large cast, a complicated set, several fights, dancing, and music, Director Joye Cook-Levy might wonder why she said “yes” to Peter. We can be glad she did. She weaves the characters, the props and the story into a magical experience.
There is an abundance of fun here. In addition to a larger than life crocodile, there’s an entire scene in the second act with an ongoing pun fest about how Black Stache lost his hand. It’s laugh out loud funny, and it ties in a character who we know will later become Captain Hook.
Each of the 12 actors creates vivid images of their characters. Jordan Leigh as Black Stache is a compelling villain. Adam Blancas as Mrs. Bumbrake is a hoot in drag. Rebecca Myers as Molly serves as the only woman in the cast (well, except Blancas in drag), and is a both a Starcatcher and a strong counterbalance for the excessive testosterone in the room. Levi Penley is the Boy who becomes Peter Pan, and he’s exactly the kind of kid we expected him to be.
Peter is very funny, but the youngsters may miss a lot of the laughs. The show is recommended for ages 8 and up, but I think age 10 might be a better cutoff. The set up in the first act develops slowly (watch for fidgeting here), with a big payoff in the second act. But even the noisy climax may not engage the youngest; a mother seated near us had to wake up her child after the curtain call.
Peter is marvelous entertainment done exceedingly well at FAC. Even if you’re a grown up, you’ll still be enchanted by a Boy who, after 100 years, is still a Boy.
This show is suitable for ages 8-10 and up. There is ample free street parking at The Fine Arts Center and in the lot across from the main entrance on W. Dale Street.
This show closes on April 24, 2016.
Photo Credit: Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Jeff Kearney, TDC Photography.
Director: Joye Cook-Levy
Musical Staging & Movement: Nathan Halvorson
Scenic Designer: Christopher L. Sheley
Lighting Designer: Jonathan Spencer
Sound Designer: Alex Ruhlin
Fight Director: Benaiah Anderson
Projection Design: Jacob Kenworthy/Brian Mallgrave
Costume Designer: Janson Fangio
Hair & Makeup Designer: Jonathan Eberhardt
Production Stage Manager: Kaetlyn Springer
Captain Scott: Jonathan Andujar
Mrs. Bumbrake/Teacher: Adam Blancas
Lord Aster: Karl Brevik
Grempkin/Mack/Sanchez/Fighting Prawn: Sammy Gleason
Prentiss: Omid Destan Harrison
Alf: David Hastings
Slank/Hawking Clam: Michael Lee
Black Stache: Jordan Leigh
Molly: Rebecca Myers
Molly: Rebecca Myers
Boy: Levi Penley
Ted: Kevin Pierce
Smee: Andrew Wilkes
Conductor/Keyboards: Jerry McCauley II
Percussion: Josh Berkhimer