Jess Guida ’19/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Peter Pan has been very popular in recent years with NBC’s live version of the musical in 2014, a recent movie adaptation, and shows like Finding Neverland hitting Broadway this past year. A prequel to this classic could surely get lost in all of the excitement. The Lyric Stage Company in Boston, however, seemed adamant on making sure that didn’t happen to their production of Peter and the Starcatcher. This company surely brought the magic back to a story that was starting to get a little worn out.
The play follows Molly, Peter, some lost boys, and Black Stache who are all sailing to England. Molly and the boys are attempting to carry out a mission given to Molly’s father, Lord Aster, by Queen Victoria: to protect a trunk full of stardust that is being carried on “The Neverland.” Black Stache and his band of pirates are trying to get a hold of this treasure while sailing on “The Wasp.” As the events transpire, the plot perfectly sets up the story of Peter Pan, and it is a joy for audiences to watch as each piece falls into place to create a favorite childhood story.
The majority of the magic from this production, though, comes from Erica Spyres and Ed Hoopman who portray Molly and Black Stache, respectively. Spyres as the stubborn and courageous Molly not only brought the story to life, but she graced each scene that she was in. If it had just been her on the stage, she still could have put on a magical production. Her talent filled the room, but it was her playful nature that really nailed the part and made the experience so enjoyable.
Hoopman also gave a great performance, but his was of a different nature. He expertly added a comedic tone to each scene that had the audience in stitches. If the show had only consisted of his opening mermaid song for act two, everyone would have still gotten their money’s worth. It’s safe to say that without Hoopman, nobody would have left the theater with their sides aching.
Both Spyres and Hoopman gave standout performances, but for a show that utilized ensemble performance, something has to be said for a the entire cast as a whole. Whether it was moving in sync or picking up a line in the middle of a sentence, these actors showed how skillfully they could perform as one unit. Nobody seemed out of place, even when they would have to play multiple characters or act as set pieces. Since the scenery changed quite a bit, this choice to make the actors the doors and furniture made it enjoyable to watch without the distraction of moving set pieces on and off the stage.
Also enhancing this performance was the incorporation of contemporary phrases and pop culture references. By using something like this, the fourth wall is often broken, and there is always the risk of taking the audience out of production. However, references to Donald Trump and text lingo like “TTFN” only added to the comedy of the show with a brief interruption.
Overall, Peter and the Starcatcher really broke through all of the “Peter Pan” commotion and proved that it the story isn’t becoming overrated. In fact, if it is done right, it can even bring back some of the magic. The Lyric Stage Company’s performance did just that, and with their extremely talented actors and beautiful set design, it’s sure that this performance will be one of the best hitting the stage in Boston this summer.