Peter and the Starcatcher

I was provided with complimentary tickets to the show

We all know the story of how Peter Pan cut off Captain Hook's hand and fed it to the crocodile
Peter Pan is one of the most beloved children's stories of all time.  It's hard to find a child in the US who doesn't know of how Wendy and her brothers flew to Never Never Land and fought Captain Hook with Peter Pan -- but what happened before that?  We all know how Peter Pan cut off Captain Hook's hand and fed it to the crocodile, but how did Peter Pan and Captain Hook get to Never Never Land in the first place?  Look to the Broadway play Peter and the Starcatcher for all the answers!   We received tickets to opening night, and we left with quite a bit of pixie dust in our eyes.

Peter and the Starcatcher is based on Peter and the Starcatchers, a novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson that acts as the prequel to J.M. Barrie's Peter and Wendy.  You'll meet a nameless London orphan who eventually becomes Peter Pan, a dastardly pirate who eventually loses his hand (although not in the way everyone assumes) and becomes Captain Hook, and a bright, inquisitive girl who does not eventually become Wendy but is connected to Wendy in a way that unfolds as the play ends.  You'll meet characters who end up in Peter Pan story everyone knows and loves (Smee, the crocodile), and characters who don't (Alf, Mrs. Bumbrake, Lord Astor).  You'll learn the backstory of Peter Pan and how he became the Boy Who Never Grew Up.

Peter and the Starcatchers is classic pantomime at its best, with over-the-top characters, men in drag (our favorite scene was the drag mermaid chorus line!) and lots of humor (not to mention fart jokes), but with a contemporary twist (lots of modern cultural references like TTFN).   Pan fans will be happy for the chance to delve more into Peter's story. I have to admit, the plot is so fast paced that it's difficult to keep track of what's going on.  The Pea was hopelessly confused for a good portion of Act I, so if you take anyone under age 12, be prepared to do a lot of explaining during half time.

photo credit: SHN website

For me, where Peter and the Starcatcher really soars is in the production.  I'm amazed at the creativity displayed by the cast and crew!  The stage at the Curran Theater is really small, but they were able to make dozens of scenes come to life: the docks, the ship's deck, the dungeon, a battle at sea, a mermaid grotto and a jungle, to name a few.   They used minimal props in imaginative ways.  Ropes became waves, human bodies became walls, rubber gloves became birds, white pennant flags became crocodile's teeth.  And did I mention that the entire cast of characters was played by just 12 actors?  The whole production is living proof of the magic that awaits you if you let your imagination take flight!

Peter and the Starcatcher is playing at the Curran Theater in San Francisco from November 5 till December 1.  Tickets can be purchased at the SHN website.

Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary tickets to the show. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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