Thomas Moran | Arts and Life Editor
Orphans, mermaids, mad men and magic all collide in Baylor Theatre’s latest main stage production, “Peter and the Starcatcher.” If you’re on the fence about whether or not to see the production, the show is certainly worth the watch.
“Peter and the Starcatcher,” adapted for the stage by Rick Elice from the book “Peter and the Starcatchers,” tells the origin story of Peter Pan. The story follows two ships with two identical trunks, one with common sand inside, the other with magical “star stuff.” Through a comical swap of the trunks, a spilling of star stuff into the sea and plenty of hilarious encounters, viewers watch as prevalent elements of Peter Pan’s story are given history, like Captain Hook’s lost hand, the naming of Neverland, the creation of Tinkerbell and even the mother of the Darling children.
The set design was simple and whimsical. Multi-use structures constructed of bamboo-looking beams and platforms allowed characters to sneak on and off stage, adding a fun and dynamic effect to the performance. The production incorporated clever uses of props to complement the set and plot. Accompanied by creative lighting techniques, the show carried palpable creativity and undeniable visual appeal.
The costume design matched the whimsy of the set. The disparate bunch of characters looked as though they’d been torn from the pages of a children’s book with kaleidoscopic colors, mismatched styles and, in some instances, fantastical materials. The audience was in stitches at the sight of a mermaid wearing a bra made from toilet plungers. Lead character Molly Aster’s outfit, complete with more layers and ruffles that one could count, complemented her youthful strength perfectly. Despite the uniqueness of each outfit, the costumes of the motley group of orphans felt cohesive and connected to the overarching aesthetic of the show.
But a show can still fall flat on its face if the impressive set, props, lighting, sound design and costumes are not matched with a similar caliber of acting. Fortunately, this show didn’t have that problem. Other than the occasional joke that fell flat or incoherent phrase on account of the faux British accents, most of the actors and actresses absolutely nailed their roles. Houston senior Nicole Renee Johnson perfectly embodied the sharp, witty, confident character of Molly Aster. Fullerton, Calif., sophomore Joshua Bates perfectly embodied the boyish charm and sprightly air of Peter Pan. However, Waco sophomore Chris Coley and San Antonio junior Alissa Klusky, who played the villainous pirate Black Stache and his clumsy sidekick Smee, absolutely stole the show. Their on-stage chemistry paired with their hilarious antics had the audience in stitches whenever they delivered a punch line. The entire cast was a pleasure to watch.
All in all, Baylor Theatre’s take on “Peter and the Starcatcher” is well-worth the $17 price of admission. The entire show felt cohesive in its whimsical portrayal of origin of one of the most beloved children’s book characters of all time — Peter Pan. Hats off to Director Lisa Denman and the rest of the designers, managers and cast.
The cast is performing every night at 7:30 p.m. through the Feb. 17 and will have two matinees on Feb. 16 and 17 at 2 p.m.