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PlayMaker's 'Peter and the Starcatcher' portrays the childlike tone of 'Peter Pan'

PlayMakers Repertory Company production of Peter and the Starcatcher.  

CREDIT:  Jon Gardiner
Buy Photos PlayMakers Repertory Company production of Peter and the Starcatcher. CREDIT: Jon Gardiner

4 Stars

Audiences of all ages roared with laughter at the PlayMakers Repertory Company’s production of “Peter and the Starcatcher”.

“Peter and the Starcatcher” is a whimsical and childlike prequel to "Peter Pan," based on a novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. The play follows the adventures of Peter Pan (Evan Johnson) and Starcatcher apprentice Molly Aster (Arielle Yoder) as they try to save Molly’s father and keep magical ‘starstuff’ out of the hands of evil pirates. The play is directed by Brendon Fox, who previously directed “Angels in America” and “Opus” at PlayMakers. It will be showing until Dec. 12 at the Paul Green Theatre.

Arielle Yoder shines brightly in her role as the Molly Aster. Her performance is big and captivating, yet not over the top. On a stage full of male actors, she holds her own and keeps the audience’s attention. She also shines in a literal way. Costume designer Holly Poe Durbin designed Molly’s dress to look like it’s made of simple fabric — yet it twinkles and shines when the lighting is just right.

The humor in this play appeals to every member of the audience, both young and old. The villainous character of Black Stache (Mitchell Jarvis) is a crowd favorite. The character’s physical mannerisms and word puns make the children in the audience laugh, while the older audience members enjoy his references and tendency to break the fourth wall.

The set design looks like both a ship and a jungle gym, which adds to the themes of childhood and imagination that manifest throughout the play. The props used are simple and funny, making them effective.

The script for “Peter and the Starcatcher” calls for some tropes that I find a bit annoying, and sometimes the pacing feels rushed and confusing. But the performances of the actors, the use of props, the style of narration, and the set design all combine to give the play a sweet, childlike tone. During some scenes, I felt less like I was watching adults on a stage, and more like I was watching children play make believe. 

“Peter and the Starcatcher” is a funny, bittersweet play that will make you want to never grow up.


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