Saturday December 16th 2017

“Peter and the Starcatcher”

Recommended *** Over the past few years, I have been avoiding some of the productions at The Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights.I love the venue itself and the comfort of the downtown Arlington Heights area, but, the theater lacked the quality that I had hoped for. They tried, and they tried, but they just didn’t seem to have the right mix of theatrical productions for the readers I am reaching. Their “Cabaret” performances were special and I did try to make them, but when it came to play selection, not so! I am here to tell you that somehow, someway, someone saw the light and it looks as if the staff that runs this gem of a venue has followed the “yellow brick road” and I am glad!

They are concluding their 2016/2017 season with the Tony-award-winning “Peter and the Starcatcher”, a cleverly written show by Rick Elice (based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson) with music by Wayne Baker. “Peter” is of course, the  beloved “Peter Pan” and this particular story is the “prequel” allowing us to see how the boy, an orphan (played to perfection by Ben F. Locke, with the exception of his English accent) earns his right to remain a boy forever and take on the name “Peter Pan”.

This twelve member cast ,many of them playing a multitude of roles (even the leads), is having a ball, as is the audience in this rather silly and cleverly told story about a young orphan (the boy who becomes Peter) searching to find a home and a family of his own. He, with several others, is being held captive on a ship bound for Rundoon where he meets a young girl, Molly ( Sarah Cartwright is a sensational find), and together they  have the adventure that binds them together and sets the pattern for the future. I can’t tell you this part, as I hate to ruin “happy endings”.

Along their way they encounter mermaids (the opening number of the second act will floor you and is worth the price of the ticket on its own), pirates, a rather large crocodile, island inhabitants, nannies, teachers, and treasures that need protection. This is two-hours-thirty-minutes of pure fantasy but with a purpose that will warm your heart. Directed byLili-Anne Brown on a strong set designed by Ashley Woods (probably the best set ever on this stage), I was very impressed with the cast they put together for this show. They all fit the roles they played.

Patrick Byrnes was quite impressive as Lord Aster, Molly’s dad , as  was the powerful Michael Pine as Black Stache (who, of course, becomes Peter’s arch -enemy Captain Hook). His “right-hand” man, Smee is played to perfection by Luis David Cortes, who has  great comical timing. Peter’s two best buddies, Prentiss and Ted are played by Ryan Hamman and Will Wilhelm. They are very funny. A note about Wilhelm. I have seen him do some bits over time, but have never seen him tackle a role such as this one. He is fun to watch and I am in hopes he will continue to grow in our theater scene.

The other cast members- Cullen Rogers, Steve Peebles, The hysterical Will Kada, Elisa Carlson and Rachel Christianson are all delights and make this show work.Micky York on the piano and Lior Shaggs at percussion are the musicians and the choreography was done by Brigitte Dittmars. The sound (Sarah Putts) and lighting ( Joe Mohamed) along with the costumes (Rachel Parent) and the props (Rocky Kolecke) round out the technical aspect of the show. The ingredients to a solid productions are when each and every part works. FYI- this is not considered a musical, but a play with music, so don’t expect to walk out humming anything. You will walk out with a smile on your face and a theatrical experience you won’t forget!

“Peter and the Starcatcher” will continue at The Metropolis Performing Arts Centre located in downtown Arlington Heights 111 Campbell thru August 20th with performances as follows:

Thursdays  7:30 p.m.

Fridays  7:30 p.m.

Saturdays  3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Sundays  3 p.m.

Tickets are $38 and can be purchased by calling 847-577-2121 or online at www.MetropolisArts.com

There is plenty of free parking, both on the street and in the garage directly south of the building. Lots of great dining along the street (almost any type of food you might want).

Next season looks to be a solid line-up as well. I am looking forward to many more solid productions here!

To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “Peter and the Starcatcher”

 


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