Everyone has dreams. Even an orphan boy with no name as he’s thrown into the dark, stinky hold of a ship bound for an island ruled by a tyrannical king doomed to be a slave for the rest of his days, has a dream. He dreams of flying and the dream gives him hope and a drive to keep carrying on. This boy’s small measure of optimism collides with the remarkable Molly, an apprentice Starcatcher who has confidence and enthusiasm to spare. Their adventures together are “Peter and the Starcatcher,” a Tony-Award winning play based on a young adult book by Dave Barry (yes, that Dave Barry) and Ridley Pearson, adapted for the stage by Rick Elice.
For nearly two and half hours, a dozen actors are taking Cape Rep audiences on an enchanting and hilarious journey, playing orphan boys, pirates, British naval officers, island natives, sailors and even mermaids. Elice’s script features fast-paced dialogue filled with poetry, pop culture references, fart jokes, puns and wordplay that keeps you laughing as well as on the edge of your seat with suspense. It’s what “Wicked” is to “The Wizard of Oz.” “Peter and the Starcatcher” is a prequel to story of Peter Pan and his nemesis Captain Hook. How did the orphan become the boy who would not grow up? How did Hook, or Black Stache as he is known here, lose his hand? All that is revealed and more.
You don’t need the program to figure out which of the “lost boys” becomes the leader of the group, even though it’s a running gag throughout the show. James Sawyer has stage charisma and gives a powerful performance as “Boy,” soon to be revealed as Peter. His chemistry with Molly (the always riveting Jessica Georges) is moving and lovely. The two drive the adventure and feed off each other luminously.
Every role is a packed with potential scene-stealing moments, and this group finds them all, be it an eye roll, a playful aside, or a dastardly leer. Sam Gillam as Black Stache is a hoot. He and Smee (the reliable yet never boring Jared Hagan) are a dynamic duo. The spirited Holly Hansen in multiple roles is a force too. The lost boys, Ted (Garrett Almeida) and Prentiss (Marcus Hunter), Mrs. Bumbrake a.k.a. Molly’s Nana (Art Devine), Alf (Andrew Ford), Captain Scott (Ari Lew), Molly’s father (Paul Schuyler), and Slank (Jade Schuyler) are all fabulous and find every moment. The act two opening is not to be missed, kudos to all involved especially costume designer Holly Erin McCarthy.
A bare-bones set with detailed props, lighting effects and the audience's imagination is magically transformed into a pirate ship at sea, a Polynesian island and more; here the Cape Rep actors, under director Maura Hanlon’s skillful supervision, scurry, slink, leap, tumble and dance their way into your heart much the way the show’s stardust does. It’s theater at its finest. The ingenious stagecraft of the production is a credit to Hanlon along with Cristina Dinella, musical direction; Teel James Glen, fight choreography; Trevor Norton, scenic design; Herrick Goldman, lighting design; Melissa Becker and Susan Wasson, props; Susan Nicholson, associate lighting design and Kate Gulden, stage manager.
Just as the books are for age 10 and up, this show will delight that age group as much as adults. The pace is wicked fast but easy to follow. It’s a grand tale filled with magic and magical happenings. We loved it from beginning to the exciting conclusion! My theater companion told me to write that Cape Rep “hits it out of the park again!” The cast was so talented and witty, and the one-liners had me laughing out loud.
She thinks this show will sell out, and she said she can see why it won all those Tonys! I agree; better get your tickets today!
"Peter and the Starcatcher”
At Cape Rep Theatre
Through Dec. 4, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.; additional performance on Saturday, Nov. 26 at 2 p.m. No performances on Nov. 9, 23 and 24.
Information and reservations: 508-896-1888, www.caperep.org