Through October 8|
PETER AND THE STARCATCHER MusicalFare Theatre/Daemen College
By Augustine Warner
In popular entertainment, we’ve seen a fad for prequels, the idea that if we know where people come from, we will better understand where they are.
The idea that prequels in fiction are as important as the young Winston Churchill or the young Donald Trump strikes me as silly, but to each, her own.
What we get are shows like the slightly musical “Peter and the Starcatcher: A Grownup’s Prequel to Peter Pan” from Rick Elice, Wayne Barker, Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.
There’s no credit for James. M. Barrie.
The MusicalFare production is a lot of fun and well-done and just as incoherent as the Shaw Festival production in 2015, which spent more money on the show that MusicalFare probably spends on its entire season.
The show attempts to explain the backstory, the “origins” of Peter and Wendy and everybody in Neverland.
The Barry and Pearson novel provides a loony base for the story in this show, although if you think about it the whole story is loony: a kid who can fly, a crocodile holding a ticking clock, an island lost somewhere on the planet and the Darling family.
Oh, well, this is musical theatre and few things are as detached from reality.
The show uses some camp direction from Chris Kelly, a low-budget orchestra of Philip Farugia on piano who is also a cast member and an effective set from Chris Schenk and Kari Drozd’s hair, wig and makeup designs.
It’s good, especially Steve Copps’ Black Stache, the malapropic pirate who becomes Captain Hook and Renee Landrigan as Molly, the female character and eventual mother of Wendy, Barrie’s heroine.
There are also Bobby Cooke’s Lord Aster, Molly’s father, Jesse Tiebor’s Boy who becomes Peter and Anthony Alcocer, especially as Fighting Prawn.
Of course, this is also politically correct entertainment, with the language of the island natives built around words like “linguini” and “pasta.”
Lord Aster is a secret agent for Queen Victoria, who uses his 13-year-old daughter Molly as an agent on a mission to Rundoon.
She may be mature for her years and seemingly the only adult in this menagerie, but still 13?
For an audience, you can’t really try to let the story make sense, you just have to relax and let it go and watch the actors and the antics in the center aisle, essential to the show.
Classic musicals are often criticized and derided because they reflect the social values of the day when they were created and that means they shouldn’t be staged or should have anything that’s problematic cut, characters, songs or plot elements.
I can’t see that ever happening to this show, since it’s so far out there it’s probably safe from the scolds.
What it is is entertaining and this production of “Peter and the Starcatcher” is happy, entertaining and very well done.
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