REVIEW: Peter and the Starcatcher

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By Stephen Day

We all know the story of the boy that never grows up, and his merry band of Lost Boys who fight with Captain Hook and Smee, and avoid the croc with the clock. How many of us know the story of how all these characters came to be?

In its final production of the semester, the Riverside City College theater department put on a production of the Tony Award winning play Peter and the Starcatcher. The play will open Feb. 10 in the Landis Performing Arts Center.

Viewpoints was given a sneak peek ahead of opening night.

The intimate black box theater allowed for an up close and personal view of the cast as they brought dozens of characters to life, and even interacted with audience members.

The tale centers around three orphan boys being shipped off to an island kingdom, a captain with a trunk of secret cargo, the pirate Black Stache who wants the cargo for himself and Molly Aster, a “starcatcher” in training.

The titular role of Peter, who begins the show without a name, was played effectively by Jordan Alexander Arcos, who brought a fantastic innocence and wonder to the part.

Throughout the show his wide eyed expressions and obvious admiration of Molly made it impossible not to connect with him.

“Playing Peter was a lot more work than I originally thought,” Arcos said.

To prepare for the part, he watched every movie, read every book and reviewed every Broadway recording of the show.

Arcos felt honored to have been cast for the show since this was his first time at RCC.

“I couldn’t have done it without Gary’s full support as well as the whole cast,” he said.

Molly Aster, played by Andrea McCreary, establishes a big sister/leader role with the three boys despite only being a 13-year-old girl. She does a great job of helping the audience come along with the story, especially since the actors all play several different characters, often in the same costume.

“Playing the role as a leader made me passionate about her characteristics and how she took charge of every situation,” said McCreary about how she developed her character. “I fell in love with her the moment I knew how special she was to everybody in the cast.”

Black Stache, played by Austin Arnwine, brings comedy to the show often just by his animated facial expressions. Black Stache, who eventually becomes the pirate we know as Hook, chases the ship through most of the show and eventually gets the trunk but doesn’t end up getting what he hoped for in the end.

“For Black Stache I fell in love with the idea of always wanting more,” Arnwine said about preparing for his role. He continues, “I wanted to make him likable while still showing off the crooked villainous side.”

In order to prepare for a role like Black Stache, Arnwine said, “figuring out the deeper meaning behind the action will make the character stronger.”

Arnwine will be playing the parts of Vonhussler and the Park Keeper in the upcoming run of Mary Poppins.

If you miss this show’s run, you’ll have a chance to catch some of these performers in the next production of Mary Poppins, which opens Feb. 10 at the Landis Performing Arts Center.

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