Orphan boys, a Lord and his daughter on a mission, two ships, two mysterious crates, dreaded pirates on the high seas, and a bit of “starstuff” is what Peter and the Starcatcher is made of. The play by Rick Elice, based on the bestselling Peter Pan prequel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, is the delightful tale of Peter’s origin story that takes him from an orphanage on a heroic quest that leads to that magical place called Neverland.
Theatre 360 brings us a new production of Peter and the Starcatcher that is nothing short of stellar that takes the audience on a swashbuckling, magical ride with an utterly fearless cast of fine, young actors.
In a tour de force comedic performance, Anders Keith as the dreaded pirate Black Stache is that rare actor with an undeniable “it” factor. Beyond his charisma, he possesses razor sharp comedic timing along with an authentic vulnerability that makes you root for him even as he embodies “the prince of darkness, our satanic supervisor, the pirate with scads of panache”! Going toe to toe with him is Fintan Swift as Peter in a sweet, earnest and ornery performance that gels perfectly with Keith. We see the beginnings of their relationship as Stache tries to get Peter to join him tempting him with “a little swash and a little buckle” and come to understand the dynamics of their rivalry to come.
The direction by Jessica Winward is taut and keeps the action moving at an exciting pace, aided by the dynamic performances of the incredible cast. John Paszkiewicz is a standout in the unlikely role of dramatic and caring “nana” Mrs. Bumbrake whose expressions steal all scenes he is in and he’s got terrific chemistry with Shoka Kawashima as the rough around the edges pirate smitten with her.
Sage Saling is a passionate and headstrong Molly, inspired casting considering she played Wendy in the company’s earlier production of Peter Pan. Saling and Swift have sweet and poignant scenes together that strike at the heart. Olivia Freidenreich and Caroline Patterson make for a feisty pair of orphan companions and Christian Boyd is compelling as Fighting Prawn and Slank. Zosia Alarr is hilarious as Stache’s sidekick Smee and the entire cast is just fantastic, rounded out by Bjorn Blaiklock, Sadie Davis, Beth Huggins, Madeline McFadden, Ellis Moss-Wharton, Ada Newton, Amanda Pascual, Grace Patterson, and Diane Stoehr.
As hysterical as this show is, the beauty of the writing is that it taps into that Neverland magic and childhood that lives in every heart. The talented cast is up to the task of bringing both the funny and the heartfelt scenes to life in beautiful ways. Molly wisely says “things are only worth what you’re willing to give up”; Peter and the Starcatcher reminds us just how true that is and this production is most definitely worth your time.
And if you’ve been following this story, local actor Anders Keith has been accepted to the acting program at Juilliard. A proud community offers its congratulations and bravos!
Peter and the Starcatcher continues March 16 at 7:30pm, Saturday March 17 at 2pm & 7:30pm and Sunday May 18 at 2pm. Theatre 360 is located at First Baptist Church 75 N. Marengo Ave. in Pasadena. Tickets are currently on sale BrownPaperTickets.com or through Theatre 360’s website www.theatre360.org. Ticket price $16.00. For any questions on tickets please call 626-577-5922.
The entire cast is comprised of Theatre 360 students, a testament to their top notch training. Theatre 360 is an award-winning, internationally recognized children’s theatre company and school that offers professional theatre productions and theatre education to children ages 3 to 19. Students involved in Theatre 360’s company gain experience in acting, voice, dance, and technical aspects of productions. Classes and performances give students a complete theatre experience.
In Los Angeles and New York, Theatre 360 has earned a reputation for first-rate productions and training that has fostered thousands of talented artists through the years. They prepare and educate students to succeed in college auditions and Theatre 360 students have earned acceptance to top colleges including: Yale, Carnegie Mellon, NYU, Emerson, Juilliard, University of Michigan, UCLA, USC, Suny-Purchase, Guthrie, and Northwestern.