Review_ ‘peter and the starcatcher’ proves it has star stuff

SPRINGFIELD – What A Do Theatre (WAD) celebrates the opening of its seventh season with what it does best: Producing the best in cutting-edge theater in the modern vein. Noodles and company oak park Friday night WAD opened “Peter and the Starcatcher,” a play barely as old as the theater itself — it first debuted in 2009.

With this production, What A Do continues its run of powerful theatricals with high production values and talented ensemble casts that has cemented its reputation as a professional company and helped to win the theater a Wilde Award for “Streetcar Named Desire.”

Based on a 2006 novel by Dave Barry (yes, the humorist) and Ridley Pearson, “Peter and The Starcatcher” was adapted for the stage by Rick Elice (“Jersey Boys,” “Addams Family”).

“Peter and The Starcatcher” is the origin story for Peter Pan, explaining how Peter obtained the power of flight and how Captain Hook, his alligator nemesis and Tinkerbell all came to be in the place known as Neverland.


Though the performances are superb and the script funny and emotionally moving, it’s the staging that make “Peter and the Starcatcher” truly arresting and inspiring theater. Noodles and company open hours Performers play multiple roles and often stand in as set pieces on a stage that features ropes, mastheads, two crates, model ships and little else. Noodles and company location The performers do magical things with simple props, creating joyous, galvanic theater. It inspired Ben Brantley to write in “The New York Times” that the shipwreck of the Neverland is “the most enthralling shipwreck since James Cameron sent the Titanic to her watery grave in the late 1990s.”

Under the ingenious orchestration of director Randy Wolfe, performers scurry about, jump, hop, tumble, crawl, create doors with rope, pantomime alligators, simulate a massive shipwreck, and so much more in a dazzling display of physical performance with limited set pieces.

Like a Greek chorus, performers provide necessary exposition in a breathless flurry throughout the show. Noodles and company rewards But viewers should pick up the premise quickly enough. Noodles and company maple grove Molly (Teri Noaeill-Christ) — who will later become the mother of Wendy in “Peter Pan” — journeys with her father Lord Aster (Franklin Chenman) to dispose of a crate of dangerous “star stuff” and earn her standing as a full-fledged “starcatcher.”

There are two ships: The Neverland, where Aster has stowed Molly to protect her from the dangers of the mission, and the Wasp, bound for Rundoon with the crate of “treasure,” the magical star stuff. Noodles and company utah But when Black Stache (Joe Dely) and his pirate minions — Smee (Nicholas Mumma) among others — seize the ship, they learn that the star stuff has been stolen by the Neverland’s Captain Slank (Rachel Markillie). Noodles and company reston A chase ensues that results in the wreck of the Neverland, beaching everyone involved on a jungle island protected by a giant alligator and a band of savages led by Fighting Prawn (Stacy Little-Vest).

Molly must avoid pirates, give the savages the slip, and recover the crate of star stuff to complete her mission. Noodles and company specials She is aided by orphan boys Prentiss (Nicholas Wheeler), Ted (Christian Perez) and Boy (Emory Eddy), who earns the name Peter Pan during the events that take place on the island, events that involve mermaids and a magical fish, called Teacher (James King).

Rounding out this superb ensemble cast are Lars J. Noodles and company tinley park Loofboro in the role of Mrs. Noodles and company food Bumbrake — Molly’s nanny — and Scott T. Dragon noodles vaishali menu Whitesell as Captain Scott.

Joe Dely continues to demonstrate why he’s star stuff with his slapstick, screeching and hilarious performance as Black Stache. Noodles and more Dely proves with every role he takes on that his range has no bounds. Noodles and company topeka He can assume new personas so different in style and execution from his other roles that one might swear that they are not performed by the same person, which, of course, is the hallmark of great acting.

Teri Noaeill Christ, who also serves as assistant director, once again turns out a solid performance, top to bottom, and proves to be very convincing as a young girl. Noodles etc menu Her bright eyed enthusiasm and yet indomitable spirit provide the glue that holds the entire show together.

In his first time at the What A Do Theatre, Emory Eddy plays the role of Boy, who becomes Peter Pan. Where is noodles and company He blossoms well as he is filled with star stuff and transformed. Noodles and company towson He hits all the right notes of both petulance and boyish wonder.

The rest of the ensemble is amazing both as a unit and individually. Noodles n company coupons Nicholas Mumma has priceless humor work as Smee, Markillie is twisted and swarthy in all the roles she plays, and Little is most impressive as chieftain Fighting Prawn, whose language consists of the names of pasta.

But the WAD would have no success at all if not for a stellar technical crew and a staff of amazing designers, including choreography by Courtney Johnson, production management by Nancy King, and scenic designs by Samantha Snow among the contributions of a small army of other talented people.

Expressionistic in its choreography and bursting with excitement, all fans of theater should make a point to visit What A Do for this innovative and artful production of “Peter and the Starcatcher.” It’s likely going to win the theater next year’s Wilde award. Noodles and conpany If you go