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PETER AND THE STARCATCHER presented by Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park through April 4. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening night performance.
“It’s supposed to hurt. That’s how you know it meant something.” -Molly Aster to Peter Pan
Did you ever wonder how Peter Pan came to live in Neverland? Or how Hook’s hand-losing encounter with a crocodile actually played out? These questions and more are answered in PETER AND THE STARCATCHER, a bright and boisterous prequel to the story you already know.
The shows boasts a strong ensemble across the cast. Personal favorites include: Joanna Howard, who is perfect as precocious Molly Aster; Tom Story as the over-the-top scene-chewing villain Black Stache; and Jose Restrepo as his much put upon sidekick, Smee. I also enjoyed the comedic work of Andy Paterson as both Mrs. Bumbrake (smartly paired with Nick Vannoy as Alf) and the Teacher.
The script itself was a mixed bag for me. I felt that the first act was a bit long and the story really didn’t gain much momentum until act two. There were comedic elements that I enjoyed, such as the use of alliteration, Black Stache’s ongoing malapropism and the word choice for the native tongue of the Mollusk Islanders. Conversely, the broad humor, groan-worthy puns, somewhat predictable choices of anachronisms and the plot stretches to explain elements of the Pan mythos left me…meh.
The show is creatively staged with lighting and set and prop pieces. The suspended stars was a great lighting element and I enjoyed how they were used throughout the production. The costumes, designed by David Kay Mickelsen, were also a highlight.
Overall the show is fun and entertaining, but I never felt emotionally connected to the story. That being said, the opening night audience responded more strongly to the work than I did. The show is definitely worth the trip for Peter Pan fans.
My rating: 4.0 out of 5
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