There are few stories more beloved or well-known than Peter Pan, and, as is the case with many beloved stories, the original has spawned quite a few adaptations and re-imaginings. It’s hard to imagine a re-imagining more creative, crazy, and unique, however, than Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s 2006 book, Peter and the Starcatchers, which serves as a prequel of sorts to the events of Peter Pan. The book itself has been adapted for the stage, into a fabulous play of (almost) the same name, by Rick Elice, and the results are nothing short of extraordinary, especially when this madcap play is being produced by Playmakers Repertory Company under the frenziedly-fun direction of Brendon Fox.
PRC’s version instantly bursts to life with its intriguing, incredibly detailed set, which has a perfectly majestic, fantastical quality about it. A large line-up of characters is introduced and the crazy events of the story unfold bit by colorful bit.
The basic gist of the story, without revealing too much, is that a young boy (Evan Johnson) and his crew are trapped on a ship, on their way to an even worse fate- serving as slaves to a king. On this treacherous journey, they are introduced to Molly (Arielle Yoder), the daughter of a Lord, who makes it her mission to befriend them. Unfortunately, things go awry, and battles ensue between two separate ships, all over a trunk of a mysterious substance known as “starstuff.”
As one can imagine, the play is jam-packed with action, and, while this wild ride can get a little silly at times, it’s also packed with pure entertainment! Yoder shows off powerful acting chops in her role as strong, likable Molly, and she shares great chemistry with Johnson, as well as with Ray Dooley, who plays her father.
Adding to the comedy of the show are Benjamin Curns in his first-act portrayal of Mrs. Bumbrake, Molly’s hilarious, big-bosomed companion, and the villainous (and hilarious!) Mitchell Jarvis in his super-silly portrayal of Black Stache, the show’s resident “bad guy.”
While the story can be a lot to handle (and follow) at some points, it really is an incredibly fun and funny little performance that’s worth a watch (or two!). Well done, PRC!