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‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ Review: For Anyone Searching for a Bit of Magic

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Heard about Peter and the Starcatcher, mama? We review the family-friendly Peter Pan prequel from renowned theatre company Pangdemonium

We all need a little bit of magic in our lives, mamas, and, thanks to Pangdemonium, there’s exactly the right sort in town right now in the form of Peter and the Starcatcher. In fact, it’s an outing that the whole family will be enchanted by!

When Peter and the Starcatcher, the prequel to Peter Pan, first opened on Broadway it swept the floor, winning countless awards and accolades. Now in Singapore for its Asian Premiere, with some wonderful local colour and original touches from some of Singapore’s best theatre makers, it’s an absolute must-see!

Whether it was JM Barrie’s original novel, the classic Disney film or the Robin Williams characterisation, the classic Peter Pan story needs little introduction. We all know about Hook and Tinkerbell, Wendy and the Lost boys. But what came before, how did they all get to Neverland?

As such, creating a prequel is a double-edged sword. Peter Pan’s legendary status may entice audiences, those keen to know more about Hook’s hand or why the crocodile really ticks. But we are all protective of special memories, too and the risk of them being destroyed or short changed is a real risk.

However, the creators of Peter and the Starcatcher have crafted something so sympathetic to the original and so simply wonderful, that it’s hard to believe it wasn’t always part of JM Barrie’s original plan. The much loved story is enhanced and embellished, making it even more for the forever than it ever was before.

As we sat down in our seats at the Drama Theatre at National Library, looking up at the projected stars in the lush curtains and a few of the theatre details just visible on the front of the stage, my 14-year-old leaned over and gave me the thumbs up and smiled, “This looks pretty smart.”

And then it began; from the get go we were, well, hooked. As the 12 actors shifted seamlessly around the stage, switching time, place and characters, the ingenious set became a ship, then a dock, a nursery, a tunnel. A rope is the sea, a mop is a cat, a man is a woman and simply everything makes you smile. The interplay of the whole ensemble is impeccable, the theatre stage craft is divine, the lighting is sublime, the live music is fantastic. And it’s all woven together beautifully, a perfect balance between nostalgia and new; here, now and then.

Wherever we looked, there was always something happening. The lost boys dangle from ropes, silhouettes of ships make the oceans, pirates appear and ships’ officers disappear. Mermaids shimmying and singing is a particularly memorable and amusing moment ,but according to Alex, the ship splitting was up there, too, as a ‘best bit’!

The race through the jungle, Peter nearly drowning at sea, that special first kiss… there are so many things to love, but to list them all would risk giving too much of the magic away. And as we all learn, special magic must be protected ‘above all else’!

You’ll laugh at the fart jokes and slapstick banter, you’ll gasp as Peter falls through the air, and you’ll have a tear in your eye as Peter says goodbye. You’ll remember what it was to be so lost in a moment of pure wonder and enchantment, you’ll yearn for a time when days we’re spent making camps and dens, exploring the world of make believe where imagination was king (or queen!).

“I think the boy who always dreamt of food and mango pudding was my favourite….Actually the main pirate, Black Stache, was really good too. Oh, and that silly pirate, Smee, it was so funny when he had Hook’s hand and was going to give the crocodile a finger! The nanny was really silly too. Oh, and I loved that bit when they popped the boob balloons!”

“Actually, I think what was really good, Mummy, was how they managed to take a children’s story and make it interesting for grownups, too.” I smiled, knowing he was trying to sound wise, talking as a grownup, and was oblivious to the fact that I was loving how it had all made me feel like a child again.

“Thanks for bringing me, mummy.”

I gave him a little squeeze and a nudge of a hug. One of those ones that is just about acceptable when you’re 14 and in public. In that moment, the fact he’d eaten more sweets than he should have done, there was still homework to be done when we got home, and he would undoubtedly want to play on fortnight didn’t matter. The warm glow that comes with a rush of mama love ruled above all else.

So, if you’ve ever had a discussion about exactly how Captain Hook lost his hand, how the Lost Boys ended up on Neverland and importantly how the crocodile got his tick….then Peter and the Starcatcher is a must, mamas.

It’s a world where pirates play, boys explore and a girl leads. There’s adventure at every turn and magic, in the form of “star stuff”, is in the air. Turn off the screens, forget the everyday and take the whole family to enjoy this wonderful show. Although Peter says many times that “adults always lie” I promise that, right now, this one is very much telling the truth!

Peter and the Starcatcher is playing at Drama Centre Theatre, National Library Building through 20 October 2018. We’d recommend it for ages 6 or 7 and up.

Timings: Tuesdays to Saturdays, 7:30pm; Saturdays and Sundays: 2:30pm and 7:30pm
How much: $20 to $90. Buy your tickets on Sistic!

Images courtesy of Bernie Ng

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