Creativity, tongue-in-cheek humor, and a bit of improv greeted the opening night audience of "Peter and the Starcatcher" at Nebraska Wesleyan on Thursday.
Unsure what to expect of this prequel to Peter Pan, it took me a bit to get my bearings. Once Black Stache (Mary Chambers) swaggered onstage, my footing was surer. With her smooth, conversational stand-up comedy style, she caught the audience’s attention and held it. Sporting a handlebar mustache and playing off her stooge Smee (played by Samantha Hannigan), Chambers repeatedly surprised and amused the crowd. Hannigan did her part to make Chambers look good.
Also doing his best to steal the show was John Brock as Mrs. Bumbrake. Kacey Rose (Molly) kept the dialogue moving where called for, and Noah Jeffrey (Peter) knew when to slow it down for emphasis during more melancholy moments.
Props such as see-through umbrellas, flashlights, ropes and sheets to simulate water and waves, and little model ships added movement, intensity and interest. Group scenes such as the native chase on the island, slow-motion battle, and starcatcher dust dance by transformed sea life were fluid and well-orchestrated for maximum entertainment effect. Chambers mastered one effect so well (severing her hand) that it was hard to tell at first if it was part of the play or a stage mishap.
This play goes beyond telling the back story to Peter Pan. The cast has turned it into an extended "Saturday Night Live" skit with stand-up comedy and improv to amuse and entertain.