“Peter and the Starcatcher” could have been retitled, “War of the Words.” You have to admire a script that mentions Genghis Kahn, Caesar, Napoleon and Ayn Rand in the same twenty word line. There are puns, jokes, “in” jokes, “out” jokes and perhaps even “in-between” jokes. Sometimes the plays on words are flying about so quickly you can barely keep up . . . when the pace is right.
Stardust (wealth? life? growing up?) changes those who touch it. Roger Rees, the original co-director of “Peter and the Starcatcher” on Broadway, commented about the actors and the essence of the script “. . . capturing its innocence and the togetherness of the Lost Boys, but also its inherent sadness and fear of the dark.” The play is about one thing, while showing and talking about something else. It’s a non-linear vehicle about . . . uh . . . stuff. Starstuff? Stardust? Questions abound and float around the brain and tease the imagination with a sense of wonder. The play gives you the key to understanding the backstory of the characters from Peter Pan.
“And they’re greedy like Genghis Kahn, or hungry for world domination like Caesar, Napoleon or you know Ayn Rand.”
“Didn’t you learn anything in that orphanage?”
“I was kinda busy trying not to die.”
Some days we can’t play with our words and have to do many things just to get through the day.
This play won multiple Tony Awards on Broadway. At the Lakewood Towne Center, maybe not so much . . . so far. As they say, little things mean a lot. I saw this production on opening night. I think mostly it needs to speed up, which it should do naturally with each performance. W. Scott Pinkston had all the fart jokes. There were a lot of them. He’s an excellent actor, but I wish he would speak up. Just a bit. Sitting in the next to last row, I missed some of his delivery. The same was true of some of the younger actors.
The Friday night crowd loved Robin Williams as the mercurial genie from Disney’s Aladdin who shape shifted and changed characters, actions, inflections, attitudes and longitudes. Oops, I mean Kyle Sinclair as Black Stache, the comically evil pirate who will eventually become Captain Hook. Kyle, owned the audience. He is worth the price of admission all by himself . . . but he has help.
This play even makes fun of community theater. One of the things I like about Lakewood Playhouse is that it is community theater. It’s a growing family. I like seeing familiar faces and enjoying what they add to each new production I see there. “Pirates of Penzance” introduced Tony L. Williams and Chap Wolff to me and my wife. The name Tony L. Williams just doesn’t roll off my tongue. Now, after finding him on Facebook where he is known at Ton Williams, I have a better way of identifying him. Ton is substantial. He looks strong. He has a nice voice and moves well. Chap Wolff also is substantial. He plays the toady Smee and has numerous good lines and delivers a nice performance. These two actors were pivotal. I loved the pursuit between the ships at sea as the slower “Neverland” is outpaced and outgunned by the Frigate “Wasp.”
Speaking of good lines, Mrs. Bumbrake, the nanny played by Martin Larson had many of them. The real good ones were salacious. Larson did a great English accent . . . and was frequently the butt . . . I mean “bum” of the jokes.
Of the younger actors, Nigel Kelly stood out as the fighting prawn. Love his Italian lines.
The play plays with your imagination, Embrace it. “Peter and the Starcatcher” runs through April 22, 2018. – Reserve your passage now – lakewoodplayhouse.org