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  • Kimberly Laberge

Young ensemble makes a real star-turn at LCP

Peter Pan has treaded (and worn thin) its path through endless tellings and retellings of the classic tale. The characters’ allure remains, the world’s magic endures, but its presentation could use some new packaging. Meet Peter and the Starcatcher. Directed by Kathryn Mooers, this prequel to the beloved story follows a bait-and-switch pirate debacle of some very precious cargo, a bumbling band of misfit children, and a great lot of unpredictable “star stuff”. The show runs at Lake Country Playhouse through July 24th.


Peter and the Starcatcher is difficult to produce - by all means. The cast is full of eager green talent that requires an experienced director. The set is very minimal and requires that the ensemble become the storm, the boat, the doors, and more. The plotline has to be as many parts poignant as it is preposterous. Few directors have the capacity for creativity and adaptability than LCP’s own Kathryn Rae Mooers. Mooers is behind most of the youth productions the theatre’s academy produces. The passion for a unified ensemble effort honed in the youth program shines on the mainstage with this show. Mooers guides the show through the storm and pushes its boundaries to create an experience that is larger than life in the intimate theatre.

The cast of Peter and the Starcatcher. All photos courtesy of James Baker Jr.


Susan Falk is sheer perfection as Molly Aster, a well-off young girl with aspirations of learning and adventuring while on her way to womanhood. They bring all of the teetering innocence and intellect of a 13-just-turned-15 year old. Their body language is exuberant and their choices are filled with intentionality. With a cast of many teenage and young actors, Falk’s experience onstage is a lighthouse that guides their peers across Starcatcher’s difficult waters. The show is a real feat of teamwork, and Falk is the right leader at the helm.


Playing opposite Falk is Ivy Broder, the unnamed boy who grows to become the Peter we know and love in the franchise. Peter Pan is one of the most iconic roles both in literature and theatrical repertoire, and Broder rises to the occasion to pay homage to the renditions audiences know and love while still building their own characterization. Their performance is genuine and sweet, and Pan’s relationship with Molly is heartwarming.

The cast of Peter and the Starcatcher. All photos courtesy of James Baker Jr.

Then, there is Black Stache. Eric Madson brings a delightful surprise to the stage - LCP regulars have seen him in many traditional leading man roles, but never anything as flamboyant as this (not-so-foreboding) pirate captain. Black Stache is more likely to shed a tear than a drop of blood, and more likely to break a nail than a bone. His deliveries bring over-the-top silliness that will have children in the audience in stitches, while maintaining double entendres that will give adults a nod and a good laugh. When Madson is onstage, he demands attention - both with his flamboyant performance, and quite literally among his crew. The best part? Unlike other characters of this same trope, Madson’s commitment to the bit never gets old.


The text is imperfect. The show plays into the problematic cannibal native trope, and the trading of tribal chants for nonsensical Italian is a band aid over a much deeper cultural wound. There are a surprising amount of comments about Russians, and a recurring bit on the impossibility to tell Sanchez from Gomez. However, Mooers’ direction focuses heavily on the artistry of unique blocking and a wholly involved ensemble rather than the impact of the text itself. Cas Mayhall’s costume design leans away from the stereotypes. Together, doing all but changing the script itself, the potential for harm is substantially reduced.


For lovers of Peter Pan and those looking for something new, Peter and the Starcatcher is a raucous romp for all. When you get your tickets for this one, buckle up for one awfully big adventure.

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