- OnStage New England Critic
Meredith, NH - Opening Winnipesaukee Playhouse’s Summer Season is Peter and the Starcatcher, a play by Rick Elice, with music by Wayne Barker and based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. It tells the story of a young starcatcher, Molly, her father, Lord Aster, their mission and the friends and enemies they make along the way. One of these friends is an orphaned boy who just wants “to be a boy for a while”; and who comes to be known as Peter Pan.
Superbly directed by Neil Pankhurst, this imaginative and heartwarming production features both Playhouse veterans and first-timers. In the few musical numbers, (led by musical director and keyboardist Judy Hayward, with choreography by Lisa Travis), the cast excitedly sang and danced about the stage to the great amusement of the audience. One such highlight was the fantastically funny mermaid number at the top of act two.
As if a nod to Monty Python, the cast creatively performed as set pieces, such as walls and doors of the ship as well as generated their own sound and lighting effects. The simplicity of the set (designed by David Towlun) provided the perfect backdrop for showcasing the strength of the cast’s physical comedy skills. The cast was fully committed to their characters and together they brought life and magic to the play.
Playing Molly is the only female in the cast: Katrina Michaels. Full of energetic spunk she dominated the stage. Pirate Black Stashe was played by Playhouse favorite, Nicolas Wilder, with impeccable comedic timing. The lost boys: Ted, adorably played by John-Michael Breen, Prentiss, well played by Kristian Sorensen and Will Champion, engaging as Boy, who, through the course of the play, discovers his capabilities, learns the meaning of family and becomes Peter Pan. Each cast member provided memorable, playful moments and not a weak link was found among them. Rounding out the cast was Charles Baran, Versee Damien, Kevin Killavey, Mike Newman, Ty Pearsons, William Vaughn, and Mark Stephen Woods as Lord Aster.
A well-deserved, rousing, standing ovation ended the evening after a quick two hours and a 15 minute intermission. The Playhouse has added a symposium presentation on June 21st and a “Talk-Back Wednesday” on June 22nd for added enjoyment.
Peter and the Starcatcher is playing at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse until July 2nd and is a fun family friendly production. For additional information and tickets visit winnipesaukeeplayhouse.org
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