Peter & the Star Catcher: Review

photo 1When we all look back upon our childhood memories, we think of all the fond fairy tale characters our parents, grandparents and teachers told us about. Be it from Cinderella to Snow White, from Hercules to Alice in Wonderland… one thing is for sure…when we think of them, we yearn to be a kid again.

And this is where our story begins. Have you ever wondered why the back-story of one of the most popular characters in fairy-tale history has never been told. We ask ourselves the lifelong question: who was this boy who never seemed to get older, and how did he come to live in the magical world that became known as Neverland. Yes, you’ve guessed it, I’m talking about the story before Peter Pan.

This week on 24th July 2016, I had the pleasure of attending a performance of Peter & the Star Catcher in Toronto. Bringing together the magic of the original novel by J.M Barrie, and the new, fresh prequel format by Rick Elice, were the talented, unique and energetic company of the Lower Ossington Theatre.

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The play opens with Lord Leonard Aster (Kevin Doe), a recently knighted official of Queen Victoria, and whom on the docks of Portsmouth, is about to set sail for the kingdom of Rundoon. He has been appointed by her majesty to transport a mysterious wooden chest to the far off land; upon the fast, capable and sea-worthy ship, known as The Wasp.

Another ship is docked at the harbour also; a slower and more unfortunate vessel known as The Neverland. As both ships stand side by side, Lord Aster makes plans for his daughter Molly (Eliza Martin) and her nanny Mrs Bumbrake (Saphire Demitro) to board the Neverland and follow them to Rundoon, through a slower yet safer route.

It is during these emotional, but hopeful farewells that two major events occur. First, another chest is delivered in perfect timing to the decks. In fact, this chest is identical to first one in almost every way…apart from one minor detail. This trunk contains nothing but worthless sand. The swap occurs swiftly and without notice.

The second event to happen is the arrival of three orphan boys from St. Norbert’s Orphanage for “Lost Boys.” One of them is none other than the boy soon to become known as the legend that is Peter Pan (Nathaniel Kinghan). The three young boys are sold onto the Neverland, with the promise of a fulfilling life in Rundoon. The ship departs and…

Now, I must stop myself before I reveal the secrets of the show, but I must say it is quite a treat.

What follows includes  Peter’s initial meeting with Molly aboard the Neverland, to the surprise introduction of the villains Pirate Black Stashe and Smee; who unknowingly are in pursuit of the wrong ship, in an effort to intercept the Queen’s chest. Cannon fire, swash-buckling sword fights, blossoming romances, hilarious mermaids and foot tappingly good show-tunes, are just a small glimpse of the magic in this play.

In all, the show is an enjoyable, fresh and worthy addition to an already well-established story. With every performing minute, I found myself discovering more of Peter’s back-story, the secret of what actually is in the trunk and most of all, how Peter became the boy who never grew old.

photo 3But none of this would be possible without the talents and determination of the entire cast, crew, choreographers and designers, as well as the front of house staff. I was very impressed with the cast’s fantastic acting, singing and dancing abilities from beginning to end…the Triple Threat as it is known in the world of theatre.

Photo 6Nathaniel Kinghan played Peter perfectly, as he accurately portrayed his struggle of finding his true self outside the orphanage, his longing for some form of a family and his insistence on remaining young forever.

 

 

 

 

 

photo 5Molly, played by the ever talented Eliza Martin, was a true example of a rebellious teenager, and a girl ahead of her time; with her adventurous nature and leadership qualities in her role.

 

 

 

 

The comedy throughout the performance was what gave the play an even more enjoyable twist. If you weren’t laughing at Peter’s two orphaned companions bickering, you were giggling at the antics of Black Stashe and Smee. I found Jason Gray’s performance as Black Stashe to be both entertaining and extremely amusing. He proved himself to be a great comedic actor, with moments where I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.

photo 7But the star of the show undoubtedly has to be Bryden Rutherford. His character Smee had me chuckling from beginning to end. Bryden’s innate ability to draw the crowd in and make them laugh was quickly noticeable in each of his scenes. In the past, the character of Smee; in both book and film versions, never really appealed to me. Yet, after seeing Bryden perform, he clearly brought a new element to the role; inevitably making him my favourite character throughout.

photo 4So if you are looking for a giggle, a great day out with family and friends or even a new insight into the unknown, funny and heart warming story of a pre-neverland Peter Pan…then this one is for you.

Perfor,ances of the show will be running from Thursday 28th July – Sunday 28th August. Tickets can be purchased via the the theatre’s website: Click here to Purchase Tickets Online

They also can be purchased in person at the box office located at 100A Ossington Avenue, Toronto, M6J 2Z4.

A famous line in J.M Barrie’s Peter Pan novel is “Clap, if you believe in fairies.”

Now being the Entertainment Fairy myself; judging from the amount of clapping and cheering at the end of the show, this play is a real success, and proof that perhaps magic does indeed exist.

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Caledonia you’re calling me

So it’s been quite a while my little followers, since my last post, and there has been a valid reason. I have flown the nest and left the green fields of Ireland for the hustle and bustle of Toronto, Canada.

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But luckily with my pen and paper in one hand and a few dollars in the other, my love of fun, entertainment and laughter has just expanded, rather than dissipate.

Despite no longer being in the country where this blog originated, this does not mean the Entertainment Fairy can’t spread a little fairy dust on her western neighbour. If you have wings, you may as well use them… And if you have a quill and some ink…well that’s where the magic begins.

Now in the past I’ve reviewed such events like theatre shows and movies…even books. And before you despair, this has not finished. My love for the theatre will always be evident in my work and I’m already planning my new theatrical review in mid summer for Toronto’s latest arrivals.

But what has been missing from my many reviews??? Yes, you’ve guessed it…food and drink.

On my first day in my hectic, new city-life surroundings I pined for home. I missed the laughter, the homely food and of course the humour and familiar warmth of the celtic nation.

On my first day off from my new career, I set off in search for a taste of home. Walking up College Street like a lost puppy, I soon came across a little gem within this vast metropolis…THE CALEDONIAN.

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From the minute I entered this bar and restaurant, I fell in love with the establishment. It was like I was suddenly transported back to the celtic lands, in a matter of seconds. Not only was there a wide selection of Scottish and Irish whiskeys and beverages to choose from, but the familiar humour, laughter and warm welcomes were evident straight away.

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To top off an already wonderful experience, the food was exceptional. I have never tasted as authentic of Scottish food in my life than the day I walked into this bar. First came the starter of Haggis Balls, which were like heaven on a plate. Following that was the butter chicken and topping off the selection of homemade delicacies was the sticky toffee pudding. With each bite, I was already wishing the meal would not end, and by the time I placed the spoon down, I was not fit to move.

Not only were the staff outstanding in offering their advice on purchases, but they made you feel right at home; so welcome and appreciated.

But the secret to this cheerful atmosphere is the proprietor herself, Donna. During my meal, she introduced herself to me and chatted about her homeland of Scotland, as well a showing a great interest in my own story.

As we chatted over a Scottish Glenfiddich whiskey followed by a taste of Ireland in the form of a Tullamore Dew, I realised that I truly found one of the best run pubs I have ever been in: on either side of the Atlantic Ocean.

For visitors, emigrants and locals alike, everyone should head down to The Caledonian on 856 College Street, Toronto. If you are looking for an enjoyable drink, wholesome delicious food or if you ever want to experience the famous hospitality of the Scottish, this is the place to be during your time in Toronto.

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One things for sure, I’m already planning my next visit back.

5 out of 5 Star Rating from The Entertainment Fairy