Theater Review: 'Peter and the Starcatcher' -- 3.5 stars
You can't help but contrast "Peter and the Starcatcher" with "Wicked."
Both are prequels about familiar characters that can fly (Peter Pan and the Wicked Witch). But whereas "Wicked" is a large-scale musical that depends heavily on machinery, "Peter and the Starcatcher" is an intimate musical that depends on its versatile 12-member cast and two musicians for its special effects.
Alex Timbers and Roger Rees' spirited production of Rick Elice's play is that rare kind of theatrical event that can appeal equally to kids — who will be captivated by the sentimental, action-packed plot — and adults — who will admire its imaginative theatricality.
Peter (Adam Chanler-Berat) is depicted as an unnamed, mistreated orphan from Victorian England who is hoisted onto a ship, destined to be sold into slavery. By chance, he is rescued by Molly (Celia Keenan-Bolger), an upper-class girl who is guarding a magical substance called starstuff.
Black Stache (Christian Borle), an earlier version of Captain Hook, is chasing after the starstuff.
Chanler-Berat gives an emotional performance, and Keenan-Bolger is assertive and credibly childlike as Molly. Borle, now best known for his role on the theater-themed TV series “Smash,” makes for a flamboyant and unapologetically ridiculous villain.