Theater Review: NRACT's Peter and the Starcatcher Has the Line Item Often Left Out of Production Budgets: Imagination | Arts

Theater Review: NRACT's Peter and the Starcatcher Has the Line Item Often Left Out of Production Budgets: Imagination

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PHOTO COURTESY OF NRACT
  • photo courtesy of NRACT
Peter and the Starcatcher
★★★★
Through Sunday, May 6
North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre, Raleigh

Sometimes the cheapest theatrical effects have the greatest charm. I remember how an overhead projector, a cake of shoe polish, and a stick once replaced the digital projector and graphics software we couldn’t get for a college production. Voila! Magic writing on the wall for about $1.98, and a reminder that you don’t always need five, four, or even three figures to pull off a show. The line item most often left out of production budgets is for imagination.

That’s hardly in short supply for NRACT’s charming production of Peter and the Starcatcher, the musical version of Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s giddy Peter Pan prequel. Though we’ve often seen the shoestrings in NRACT’s design budgets, here, directors Rod and Nancy Rich and designers Chelsey Winstead, Rachel McKay, and Liz Grimes Droessler transform a miscellany of ropes, shells, fabric, and other seaside flotsam into the exteriors and interiors of British ships on a high-seas adventure in 1885.

But that description isn’t complete without the notable ensemble, whose physical acting alone depicts the hallways and hatches of the H.M.S. Wasp, the rust-bucket Neverland, and the latter’s scurvy inhabitants and human cargo.

That includes the three Lost Boys: Peter (a crisp Bobby Simcox), sexist second banana Prentiss (William Booth), and resident foodie Ted (an amusing Charles Robson). The London orphans have been sold as slaves to a Far East potentate until Molly (Charleigh Smith), the “insatiably curious, insufferably bright” daughter of a sea-going scientist (Stephen Carl) intervenes. Pirates are inevitably involved, headed by Aaron Alderman’s delightful ne’er-do-well, Black Stache.

The plot’s MacGuffin is “star stuff,” a magical substance that can turn mortals into whatever they wish to be. We know it by other names: imaginative directing and acting, which unleash a magic all their own. See it here while you can.


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