Sunday, April 15, 2012

Peter and the Starcatcher

There's a star being caught in Peter and the Starcatcher, and it ain't the unnamed Boy (Adam Chanler-Berat) who will, by play's end, become Peter Pan. Which is not to say that Chanler-Berat and his cohorts, Carson Elrod and David Rossmer ("We're lost!" "Boys!" runs one of the knowing quips in the show) aren't entertaining. But in this prequel, lovingly and creatively adapted by Rick Elice from the loving and creative novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, the star is, as ever, our delightfully villainous Captain Hook -- or should I say, Black Stache (Christian Borle), since it's not until a remarkable, scene-stealing moment late in Act II that he is "disarmed." Not only does Borle enhance any ensemble he's a part of (there's a delirious mermaid sequence), but he solidifies all of his solo sequences, making quick work of the script's alliterations and even quicker work of his character's own perpetual flubs ("Abandon spleen!" he cries, as the Neverland begins to sink). It takes an expert at physical comedy to appear to be so effortlessly clumsy, be it his attempts to strike a pose or simply to rhyme in verse, and though he jests that iambic pentameter would be box-office poison, I expect that a healthy dose of Mr. Borle is antidote enough to salvage any scene. (That explains why Peter and the Starcatcher is so much honest-to-goodness fun: there are no scenes in need of salvage.)

Peter Pan brags that he'll never grow up; with theater as good as this, audiences will never have to.

[Read full review here]
[Win two free tickets here]

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