Theatre Review: “Peter And The Starcatcher” Is The Best Bedtime Story Ever Told

“Thank you, Firehouse Theatre, for a magical night where I was reminded to believe in the impossible and trust to listen to the part of my heart that remains a child.”


 

I was prepared for a lovely evening out with my husband at a well-produced and acted show. Firehouse Theater has consistently impressed me with its high level of excellence. I was in no way prepared for the level of theatre magic that was offered to me as the best bedtime story ever told!

The production’s program shared this wonderful explanation of the show: Ready yourself for a familiar but new story, how Peter Pan found his name. How Neverland absorbed its magic. How dust became a fairy. We know the what but not the how, and OH what a treat is the how.

The play is simply that – play. It is crafted in such a perfect way that it is fresh, creative, hilarious, surprising, and most importantly, very alive! Enjoy the simplicity of a timeless story presented with perfection of production and performance. The audience is forced to step into the mind of children at play – imagining a new and dangerous world and simply being asked to believe.

“Dreams do come true, if we only wish hard enough.” – J.M.Barrie

It always surprises me to know the vision and dreams a director has for picking a show. So I was very surprised to read director Tyler Jeffery Adams’ notes in the program:

“I’ve never really liked Peter Pan. The story, that is. A boy who flies around and swears to never grow up, a bunch of pirates and fairies…eh. Maybe it’s the countless adaptations and retelling of the same story that put me off, but it’s something I’ve always thought of as just a kid’s story. Even when I was a kid. HA! Lots of Peter Pan movies, lots of reboots of the same movies. Get a new story, I thought.” And so he did, and oh what a story he found to tell us.

“Peter And The Starcatcher” is based on the 2006 novel by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson and was transformed into a play by Rick Elice with the music by Wayne Barker as an off-Broadway production in 2012, moving to Broadway less than one year later.

Unlike Mr. Adams, I am a Peter Pan junkie. It is by far one of my, and my children’s favorite stories. The boy who never grew up! To believe in magic and to keep the heart of a child is as much a part of my household as fresh bread and milk. It keeps us dreaming and believing that the best of everything in the world is right at our fingertips to share with each other and those who cross our path in life. With this being said, I am also a Peter Pan and Neverland story snob. “Peter And The Starcatcher” completely won my heart.

Not only does the Firehouse Theatre hold true to its mission of “providing a cross section of the finest traditional theatrical works that are suitable and affordable for all ages,” it goes well above and beyond. The quality of what is offered to its audience rivals any equity theater that I review. Caitlin Jones as Molly, Garrett Reeves as Peter, Stephen Newton as Smee (who as a young child held his own and even surpassed the adults on stage), and Peter’s companions Mark Quach as Ted and Samuel Cress as Prentiss, gel into a brilliant cast, but my heart and soul were completely captured by Shawn Gann as Mrs. Bumbrake (Molly’s nanny) and the mermaid queen, Teacher.

The set, done as a two story attic area for the story to be told from, bothered me slightly in its business. Recently seeing the show at another theater, I preferred seeing the show on a simple, nearly clear stage. However, Firehouse Theatre’s stage design somewhat detracts a phenomenal telling of the story. The use of a two-story set in many ways does enhance the action and adds significant interest to the choreography.

Thank you, Firehouse Theatre, for a magical night where I was reminded to believe in the impossible and trust to listen to the part of my heart that remains a child.

“Peter And The Starcatcher” is currently being performed and will run through Sunday, April 23rd. Tickets can be purchased online at www.thefirehousetheatre.com

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