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Theater review: & # 39; Peter and the Starcatcher & # 39; flies to OSF – Entertainment – Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA

 


Overall, it's a fun theatrical journey worth following the "second star to the right and straight until morning" to see

"Peter and the Starcatcher" is a fun, well-played and poignant theatrical experience for all ages that works on many levels.

This Oregon Shakespeare festival production of Rick Elice's Broadway play, based on the 2004 novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, debuted this weekend in Ashland, Oregon.

"Peter and the Starcatcher" is an original story that explores how Peter Pan, Neverland, The Lost Boys, Captain Hook, Tinkerbell and other iconic characters from the J.M. Barrie classic. The way everything is connected at the end should delight those who love Peter Pan and intelligently expand this universe with a well constructed backstory.

Director Lavina Jadhwani does a great job of getting things done at a fast pace and keeps the different points of the plot understandable and focused. The play is undoubtedly humorous, with many witty puns, puns and references to pop culture scattered all over the place. While all this is enjoyable, what makes "Peter and the Starcatcher" soar is the depth and the fascinating stories given to the characters that make the work resonate more than if its approach was superficial.

The play delves into the themes of loss and abandonment, sacrifice, loyalty and the light and darkness that still exist in life, as well as a sweet story of transition to adulthood.

The sets and costumes are beautifully rendered and add another layer to this production, proving once again that OSF is a theater company filled with artisans and artists of high caliber.

The scenographer Regina Garcia and her team have created a set that looks like a ship at the top. There is even a part of the awesome ensemble where actors can slide down, a feature that is used effectively and creatively in many scenes. Melissa Torchia's costume design vibrates with creative and beautifully designed pieces that capture the essence and personality of the characters. This includes extremely bright and colorful clothes worn by actors who memorable depictions of mermaids.

While not a full-fledged musical, "Peter and the Starcatcher" is filled with musical elements, including a fair share of songs, as well as live music provided throughout by the talented couple by Matt Goodrich on the piano and Reed Bentley. percussion. Goodrich is the associate musical director of this production, with Jesse Sanchez as musical director. It also provides additional orchestrations.

"Peter and the Starcatcher" follows a brave, intelligent and ingenious girl named Molly Aster (Grace Chan Ng), whom we meet in a busy harbor. She travels with her father, Lord Leonard Aster (played by the remarkable Erica Sullivan), and her nanny, Mrs. Bumbrake (Regina Fernandez).

Her father has a vital mission from Queen Victoria to deliver the mysterious contents of a trunk to the distant kingdom of Rundoon. He will travel aboard the fastest ship afloat, The Wasp, while Molly will pilot on board the Neverland.

The scoundrel of a Neverland captain, Bill Slank (Cristofer Jean), has an identical trunk full of sand carried to The Wasp as a decoy as he takes the real trunk from his ship, for harmful purposes in mind. On board the Neverland are also three children from St. Norbert's Orphanage for Lost Boys who are sold to Slank by the director. These are Prentiss (Dan Lin), Ted (Cyndii Johnson) and a character who has just been called Boy in the first half of the play (Preston Mead).

The boy is a sullen and angry boy who has been abused by adults all his life and has a burning hatred for them. This is due to the way they have always lied and been cruel to him. Molly and Boy immediately imagine each other, and a friendship develops.

Of course, things don't go as planned, and The Wasp is taken over by a group of pirates, led by Black Stache (James Ryen), named for his facial hair. He also has a right arm named Smee (Brent Hinkley). Black Stache is a pirate who tries to polish poetry but almost always mispronounces and tricks words and is nasty work. Oh, and he despises children with passion. He knows there must be a precious treasure in the chest and is furious that the real chest has been changed to The Neverland. We discover that the trunk contains a magic substance called starstuff.

Finally, there is a confrontation between the two ships, and many of those on the ships end up on an isolated island, which has been transformed by the star.

The whole cast is uniformly excellent and builds up an already solid material.

Chan Ng makes a perfect heroine as Molly. She brings intelligence and curiosity to the role and makes Molly a hard and ingenious character that the audience cares about. It also highlights Molly's childish innocence, as well as the way she grows at the same time, which develops in her feelings towards Boy.

Mead brings an undeniable intensity and stage presence to Boy. He is a damaged character who has a lot of problems to face before finding real joy. He is transformed by Molly and the island gives her a first and last name for the first time in his life.

Mead and Chan Ng work well together and create a real relationship on stage to create a solid foundation for this production.

Ryen displays impeccable comic book ability and timing as Black Stache. Stache reminded me a bit of Biff Tannen from the films "Back to the Future". Stache is a jester and funny in places. But don't take this man lightly. He is also a threatening presence and a formidable enemy.

Ryen savored this fleshy role and bit him with enthusiasm and savor. He plays Stache like a man who is not as smart as he thinks, with a healthy ego who is proud to continue the long line of wonderful mustaches that his family has grown for generations.

Lin and Johnson shine everywhere as Prentiss and Ted and are essential to the success of this play with their funny and sincere performances as orphans. Hinkley is a hoot like Smee and works well with Ryen.

Jeremy Gallardo shows fantastic versatility in multiple roles, from the cruel director Grempkin of the Boy Orphanage and his friends, to the strange Fighting Prawn, an unusual longtime resident of the island with a unique look and vernacular. Jean is perfect like Slank and plays the role of a tee.

Rodriguez brings excellent comic chops to his role as Molly's nanny, Ms. Bumbrake, especially in her scenes with the excellent OSF veteran K.T. Vogt like Alf, an old sailor aboard the Neverland. Rodriguez also has a lot of fun in a small but crucial role as a mermaid who helps Boy discover his destiny. OSF veteran actor Michael J. Hume is also top notch in several parts.

All in all, it's a fun theatrical journey that is worth following the "Second star to the right and straight ahead" until morning "to see.

"Peter and the Starcatcher" opened on Sunday at the OSF Angus Bowmer Theater in Ashland and runs until November 1. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.osfashland.org or call the ticket office at (800) 219-8161.

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