Toronto’s Lower Ossington Theatre presents Peter and the Starcatcher, a quintessential family show
It’s a sad fact of life that we all grow up, but if you want to feel like a kid again, you could go see Peter and the Starcatcher, running from July 7th to August 28th at the Lower Ossington Theatre. My guest and I had a lot of fun watching this play, though in retrospect I probably should have brought my 14 year old sister instead of my 24 year old cousin. This is a quintessential family show that reminds me of a Pixar movie in the way that viewers of all ages will be able to enjoy it for different reasons.
Peter and the Starcatcher is a non-canonical prequel to the classic children’s tale, Peter Pan. The script feels very current, being loaded with pop-culture references and subtle jokes that adults will pick up on. Younger viewers won’t be bored though, there’s plenty of low-brow humour to suit their interest. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a play with this many fart jokes.
We’re told a very cute tale of a girl named Molly (Eliza Martin) who meets a group of orphans aboard a ship. Together, they embark on an adventure and I’m sure you can guess where they end up. There are plenty of (well-choreographed) sword fights, dancing and singing en-route to Neverland so that the show’s two-hour run time never feels long.
The first thing that absolutely blew me away in this production was the set (designed by Michael Galloro). The LOT’s small studio theatre has been decked out with wooden slats, levels, ropes to swing on, and crawlspaces for the actors to pop out of. Even cooler is that the slats are all about an inch apart, with lights set up behind them. In this way the set design and lighting meld together seamlessly to create some incredible effects where magical light glows through the walls and floorboards. The performers move smoothly throughout the space, the same way an experienced sailor would move through a ship.
I enjoyed all the actors’ performances and could easily ramble on complimenting each of them. I especially appreciated the actors playing children. Eliza Martin was lovely as Molly, delivering humorous lines with a childlike playfulness and more serious ones with the necessary gravitas. Nathaniel Kinghan was charming to watch as Peter. These two had great onstage chemistry and my favourite scenes were those with the two of them. The bond between Molly and other the lost boys, Prentiss (Jonathan Gordan) and Ted (Mitchell Allanson) was heartwarming as well.
The casting was great all around and I felt the actors really became their characters. Their singing was lovely and I’d hope to see many of them in future LOT musicals. On that note, I was particularly impressed by Bryden Rutherford, who sang very well while playing a hilarious Smee.
My only gripe with the Peter and the Starcatcher was some awkward direction near the end. The actors kept positioning themselves onstage like they were about to line up for their bows; their cadence slowed down, the lights dimmed… and then they kept going. This happened a few times and even though I was content to keep watching, it really put a damper on an otherwise beautiful ending to a very funny, heartwarming and polished production.
Take your family out to see this show. Whether they’re kids (preferably over the age of 10) or grown-ups, I’m sure you’ll all have a great time.
- Peter and the Starcatcher is playing at the Lower Ossington Theatre (100 Ossington Ave.)
- Performances run until August 28th
- Shows are at 7:30 PM (Thurs/Fri/Sat) with matinee performances at 3:30 PM Sun & Sat.
- Tickets range $50-$60.
- You can buy the tickets online or at the LOT box-office.
Photo of Jason Gray and Nathaniel Kinghan provided by the Lower Ossington Theatre.