Broadways Best
Adam Chanler-Berat as Boy and Celia Keenan-Bolger as Molly.
      For anyone who doesn’t believe in magic and fairies, and that not only can cat’s fly but so can boys. For anyone who doubts that childhood dreams and imagination can be real, there is a wakeup call for you now playing at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre under the title of Peter and The Starcatcher. Not only does this magical show reach out to the imagination in every child, but the child in every adult. The show, which opened on April 15, has since garnered up 5 Tony Awards, including several more nominations, and an assortment of other awards. When I saw the show this past August, not only was the acting phenomenal, but the direction was the most spectacularly creative, inventive, and intriguing piece of work I have ever seen. The show is told by 12 actors, one women and eleven men, who play over 100 different characters between them, including one man who even plays many female roles. The show is performed in that the actors use only a few basic props, like a rope, a light, and a glove among others, to create many places and things throughout the story while also asking for our imaginations to help along in the journey. This creative idea is not only interesting, original, and an experience in itself, it is also beautifully interspersed within the story, and also makes for a beautifully different experience for each audience member. This mind-blowing direction surely makes for a great show that, contradictory to the amazing direction, although it has some great moments and a very nice story line, is sometimes very troubled.
            The book, written by Rick Elice, is the biggest of these problems. It is told in a fun, quick-paced, often witty, and very helpful way, but its jokes are the type that you would laugh at if only to make someone feel good about a joke that, although funny, was more tongue in cheek than laugh-out-loud, tell-it-again humor. It also falls weakness to a problem that many Broadway shows have in that fact that it is very cheesy and corny. It is meant to be like that and that adds a lot of childlike fun, but sometimes it becomes too much. The book also falls dependent more to the fantastically exquisite direction, but this does not hide the fact that, without the creative direction, the show would be doomed. The staging does, however, makeup for this by blowing you away. Also the second act of the book gets better by exploring the life of the boy, who will soon become Peter Pan, even more and sending off shout-outs to the shows that come after it in chronological order. The actors in the show are fantastic, character actors, who bring something different to each character- most of them play several- that they become, and seamlessly transform from part to part. The shows nature of having almost every actor, other than the two leads, play several parts each, is an easily lovable trait that the show holds. Not to mention that each actor is lovably brilliant and joyful. The shows lead, Adam Chanler-Berat, who plays the role of Boy, soon to become the famous Peter Pan, not only captures the essence of a young child who just wants to escape his sad life and live, is one of an inventive and beautiful kind, as his chance to be free excites the audience, and it makes us wish to cheer him on in his attempt to do so. Peter and The Starcatchers villain, and the enemy to Chanler-Berat’s intriguing boy, is the equally intriguing Matthew Saldivar, who replaced Christian Borle in the role of Black Stache on July 2, the role that won Borle a Tony Award just the month before. Black Stache is the character who will soon become Captain Hook. By the end of this play he still is Black Stache, but he has lost his hand, and we can tell he will soon become the infamous Captain Hook that J.M. Barrie has written to be the main villain in the plays that serve as sequels to this one, although written long before. Saldivar’s Stache is, to use a good word, a jokester. He constantly is making witty comments with which Saldivar carefully tosses toward the audience in a pleasant, yet cheesy manner, the kind of opportunities and jokes that the book is chop full of. However, the part of Stache is meant to be this way, and Saldivar does not miss an opportunity to make the audience laugh. Then we have the only girl in the play, a playful and more than joyfully silly Celia Keenan-Bolger, playing the role of Molly. She is the only female in the show, although not the only female role, and her character is always looking to be one of the boys, and is very adventurous and heroic. She will become the mother of Wendy, J.M. Barrie’s main heroin, in the later plays, something mentioned only briefly towards the end of this show. Ms. Keenan-Bolger captures the essence of carefree and wonder that you might see in a child of about 10, although she plays 13. This, however, makes no difference, as she reaches her joyfulness into our hearts and makes us laugh with her intelligent yet witty lines. She presents before us a girl who seems to have no worries and is extremely likable, and who we all wish to be like. This show is an ensemble show of 12, and the rest of the cast is also fantastic, rounded off by, just to name a few, Arnie Burton, David Rossmer, Kevin Del Aguila, among others. This joyous cast puts forward the imagination and love of a child into this story, as well as the wonder and heart that we all wish for in our everyday lives, and that every child experiences when they are young. The show also features music, which is fantastically interspersed through this “play with music”. There are only a few songs, but each one is joyful, silly, and as exciting as the next. This music not only helps the show to set sail throughout the theatre, but also helps the show set sail into out hearts. So go check out Peter and The Starcatcher, now playing at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre until January 20, and experience the joys of your imagination once more and the sensation of what it is like to fly.

12/10/2014 16:18

omq so cool


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