Peter and the Starcatcher, I have so many wonderful things to say about this play. I recently attended the Ahmanson Theatre to watch Peter and the Starcatcher. I saw the commercial many times on TV but never really grasped the concept of what they were talking about. But I finally did some research and learned that oh yes; this story is about Peter Pan. They had advertised this play as being a prequel to the story of Peter Pan in which we all know. I was sure onboard and got my tickets ready to be enthralled by what storyline could possibly become of the prequel of the famous Pan.
A little brief background on the play is that it is based on the book series Peter and the Starcatcher by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson which was released back in 2004. The book publishing company, Hyperion, also works with the Disney Company which made sense when I saw that the merchandise in the lobby had the Disney company copyright symbol. So after seeing this play, I most definitely will have to read those books. But all in all, the storyline could have not been made possible if it had not been for J. M. Barrie, the original author of Peter Pan which was released back in 1904.
So I finally sat in my seat ready for the play to begin. I was so amazed by all the detail work in the frame that surrounded the stage. You could see so many little pieces, all covered in gold paint. There was a lot to look at and there was even a little photo of Peter and Wendy at the two top corners. It was pretty cool. So once I saw that framework, I was sure ready to see what else waited. The story began with a dialogue from the cast. Both personal and interpersonal thoughts were being expressed on stage. I was a bit confused for the first five minutes but then finally started to understand the things that were happening. The dialogue throughout the play was both witty and very sharp. Every word meant something and it was placed exactly right with the timing of things. For most of the first act, one could hear the thoughts of the characters as well as their actions that were being played out. Not only was the tone of each actor very punctual, but present day slang of the words was very close to that of today. For instance the phrase “TTFN” (Ta Ta for now) was said a lot. Once I became familiar to the tone and types of present day speak, I started to be amazed by how familiar the conversations were occurring, like as if I was talking to my friends. But still don’t get me wrong, it was still very plotted well to give a great story.
The setting of the stage was used very well. It took a lot of artistic ability to make the stage so creative and useful in so many ways. For the first act, the stage setting was very simple. It had a basic wooden floor, ropes hanging in the backdrop and a dim dark light shadowed over. They were on two boats for the first act so it all made sense. With a small space, they too were limited to the amount of props used. Things such as a rope or a ladder created so many different scenarios within themselves and amazed me by how the stage was used so well. Even things such as row of actors made one feel as if there were several rooms placed in front of them. During the second act, the stage was a lot brighter. Shades of green and blue lit up the stage. It was still basic but very impactful. The backdrop now was shaped by trees then transformed into a setting showing a shipwreck. The one thing that I really enjoyed was the way in which the lighting was used. If it was a flash of lights symbolizing a storm or a red light from behind the curtain depicting a crocodile, it all made perfect sense. It felt like the lights themselves were strong props. They really set the atmosphere.
Costumes from the play were very simple. Nothing too crazy or dull, just the right amount. The color scheme of clothes was in the tones of grey and black. The actors wore the same costume for most of the play even if they had switched character roles. A simple thing such as headband or a jacket made all the difference but was still really simple. There was one exception to the costume change. Right after intermission ended, the cast came out in mermaid costumes. The audience was bursting from laughter and the bedazzled costumes which resided on the all male and one female cast was amazing. The mermaid costumes were accompanied by a hilarious song that stated how mermaids became mermaids. They had the right amount of sparkle. I really enjoyed the costumes because they were simple yet still let the storyline speak for itself.
The characters within the play were very animated; also I think that is in part of the simple setting of the stage. There were a variety of accents and quirks about each of the characters. It made them feel easy to read and gave a clear line on what was actually going on. The characters were nothing too hard to analyze. The main characters were Molly, the Boy and Capitan Black Stache. Molly and the Boy had a completive vibe as characters, but it was friendly. The Boy had the most dramatic change of character dispositions. From very coward and afraid to a bright and confident spirit, it was really easy to see who he actually was…Peter. Molly being strong and very persistent, helped the boy transform through their adventure of saving the treasure. Captain Black Stache, oh where do I start? He was a funny character in his own right. There was a little singing number about who he was, he also kept getting sea sick on his ship and even thanked the Boy at the end for being the hero making him a villain. He even went on a tangent of how he lost his hand for about two minutes and the audience could not stop laughing. The roles were strong and you could somewhat feel sympatric in their scenarios.
Overall the storyline was very well thought out. It became with a true adventure to save treasure and ended up being the case in which Peter Pan discovers who he truly is. Since it is based off a new book, I wouldn’t relate them closely to the actual story of Peter Pan from the point of his childhood to Neverland. But I really did enjoy seeing the progression of certain characters. The last scene of the story really tugged at my heart. It was a basically the realization that you can be whoever you want to matter what type of situation you have at home or how made it may feel to change. I was amazed at how well the story of the play was tied into that of the original work of Peter Pan. I was amazed and for sure to would like see it again.
Peter and the Starcatcher is touring the nation and they also have a permanent stage as well in New York. I would definitely recommend this play to adults of all ages. It’s full of laughers and sincere emotion. I would not however recommend this for children. Also to add, of you really enjoy Peter Pan, you most definitely have the see it. It will continue playing that the Ahmanson Theatre until January 12.
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