Peter Pan: it’s a story everyone loves. Who can deny the power of being young at heart? Certainly, not this town. “Peter and the Starcatcher,” now playing at the Waterfront Playhouse theater, is a modern take on the timeless story that pulls at our hearts and delights the stage. Meet young Peter, his band of lost boys, and an early Captain Hook dubbed “Black Stache,” with his delightful Smee, before Wendy and Tinkerbell even joined the party. Adapted by Rick Elice in 2011 from Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s 2004 children’s novel, the show eventually became a Broadway hit and won multiple Tony awards.
“Peter and the Starcatcher” is a full scale production with some of the most charming actors assembled on stage. The fantasy introduces us to orphan Peter, newcomer Dillon Feldman, and his new friend Molly, who is “insufferably bright” (Hint: she’s Wendy’s mother). Susannah Wells is Molly and magnificently holds her own as the only female character. The pair have a high seas adventure aboard the ship S.S. Neverland, encountering buccaneers, magical secrets, stardust, evil villains, orphans and a chorus full of mermaids. It’s a bedtime story that speaks to adults with the fond warmth and fascination of childhood imaginations.
Directed by Tom Thayer, the play’s breadth is evidenced by the immense choreography and scene after scene of multiple characters, each shining brightly to great effect. Without a hiccup, at least an obvious one, Thayer chose his ensemble wisely for their versatility and comedic timing. Another newcomer to the playhouse, Alan Gillespie, charmed as “Black Stache”, a villain achingly fun to watch. John Reynolds as Smee was impossibly even more hilarious than his role in last year’s “The Legend of Georgia McBride.” Watch Alf, played by Bob Woods, and Mrs. Bumbrake, played by Trey Forsyth, for their subtle and not so subtle merriment. Ross Pipkin and John McDonald never fail to carve out their own center stage. The 12-member cast pulled off dozens of roles, musical numbers and costume changes with great synchronicity and outstanding effort.
Michael Boyer excels again with striking just the right theater set in tandem with Kim Hansom’s lighting design. And Mary Folio’s costumes truly rival Broadway.
“I’m a fan of Peter Pan,” said Thayer, who is also the theater’s new artistic director. “I spent a lot of time preparing and thought it would be a great production for the Waterfront.” Indeed — with a sprinkle of stardust.
‘Peter and the Starcatcher’
Through Jan. 6