Loudoun Valley Wows with Whimsical ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’

By Tylor Goshorn

We have all wished to fly and soar above the world, to battle pirates, be birds, mermaids and heroes. “Peter and the Starcatcher” has returned those feelings to those who have grown up. In the prequel to the childhood favorite Peter Pan, we are re-introduced to the many characters we grew up with.

The phenomenal play was adapted from the novel, “Peter and the Starcatchers,” written by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson in 2006. It was then mastered for the stage by Rick Elice, premiering on Broadway in 2012 and ending its run in 2013. Revolving around a magical substance called star stuff and its allusive properties, some characters wish to take it to be destroyed in a volcano or making a major dollar selling it.

With an electric ensemble and stellar leading men and women, Loudoun Valley High School transported us from roaring ocean to the wild jungle. The dynamic duos, Alf, played by Cole Walker, and Mrs. Bumbrake portrayed by Darius Fraser, gifted the audience with their comedic timing and playful choices. The orphans, Prentiss (Blake Carlson) and Ted (Evan Kagarise) gave energy, showed the true bond of friendship, and made the most of every line given to them by making the audience laugh every time they entered the stage. Black Stache (Charlie Trochlil) and Smee (Ian Carlson) blessed the audience with their dedication to both their physicality and the playfulness in their relationship. Lastly Peter Pan (Trevor Schoeny) and Molly Aster (Megan Horgan) dominated the stage time and time again with their chemistry. Their character choices brought the juvenile characters to life, carrying them through the whole production. Lord Aster (Zahl Azizi) played a magnificent, authoritative character, staying poised and collected and contrasting his boisterous daughter. The pirate ensemble’s distinctive character quirks pulled in the audience, giving energy to each scene which was later returned by the Mollusk tribe in the second act. The tight knit ensemble had sharp movements, acting as one organism at times and astounding the audience.

The fluidity and seamlessness of the set changes can be attributed to stage manager Hannah Allison. The sound effects and light cues paired with blocking of the characters in the door scene and again in the orphanage wowed the audience completely. The timing for all was well rehearsed and executed wonderfully. The set is creative and inventive. The use of wood for every piece gave it unity and a clean pallet for the colorful lighting, particularly green and red. The tall wood towers, stood symmetrically placed on each side of the stage, adding levels as the platforms and stairs were wheeled on and off throughout the production. This made the stage seem even bigger, more captivating, and helped tell the story.  Simple uses of rope from making a cabin to the sails of the ship gave the actors a chance to play with physicality and endowment. Lighting kept the stage colorful and accentuated the shadows of the wood, and the characters adding a dramatic vibe to the production.

In all, “Peter and the Starcatcher” was a whimsical, wonderful, and wowing show. With quirky characters, an awe-inspiring set, flirty mermaids and dashing pirates, Loudoun Valley High School performed with dedication that every member of the audience could feel in their hearts.

[The writer, Tylor Goshorn, is a student at Tuscarora High School. This review of the Dec. 10 performance at Loudoun Velley High School is part of a series published in a partnership between Loudoun Now and The Cappies, a writing and awards program that trains high school theatre and journalism students to be expert writers, critical thinkers, and leaders.]

One thought on “Loudoun Valley Wows with Whimsical ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’

  • 2016-12-13 at 10:48 pm

    I thought I recognized that leading character, Darius Fraser. He was the student school board representative courageous enough to challenge the school board on why they were spending more $$ on turf fields than to replace 10-yr-old textbooks. We need more students like that who will speak up for the interests of their peers. He certainly is not afraid of the big stage.

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