Archikulture Digest
Peter and the Starcatcher

Peter and the Starcatcher

Valencia College East Campus Black Box Theater • Orlando, Florida

by Rick Elice • directed by John DiDonna

starring William Alexander, Brenna Anderson, Jessica Borteleky

One thing the Brits have always been good at is sailing. They brought its ropes, sails, and fancy dress uniforms to a fine art, along with complicated theatrical productions set on schooners, barques, and other oddly named boats. Tonight we have Peter and the Starcatcher, a tale of two such ships, each a MacGuffin as is required for music hall comic tale. Both ships are heading for the Kingdom of Rundoon to deliver the the Queen’s treasure and give us a plausible reason to go to sea.

The plot doesn’t make too much sense, but it’s a necessity for musical theater.

The Wasp is the classier boat, it’s led by Lord Leonard Astor (William Alexander) and crewed by professional mariners. The Neverland is a much more dodgy vessel crewed by Bill Slank (Luciono Martino) and three poorly trained boys, one of whom doesn’t even have a cute musical theater name. Once at sea, we discover that McGregor is really named Smee, and he has a pirate assistant called Black Stash (Weston Allen Kemp.) Then the plot gets about as complicated as any good Victorian novel: the boats end up on the island staffed by quaint natives who want to boil them in a pot. Nothing says “British cuisine” like “Boiled Sailor.”

I cheated a bit here. The plot is quite complicated, and the the show is presented as an ensemble piece were everyone plays multiple characters. While tracking who’s who is a mighty task, the script does repeat names often enough to allow a reasonable grasp of the plot. The set is constantly in motion, nevermind the cast. Sight gags and prat falls and goofy costumes give the show an artistic unity, and sitting in the first row gets you uncomfortably close to some of the action. They toss in some projections help ground each scene and remind you where we are in the plot, but it’s the sheer energy of the show that keeps people coming back from intermission.

Director DiDonna continues to put up some of the best designed shows in town, and after the recent Angels in America production, it’s time for some silly fun. ◼

Valencia College Theater


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