LOST BOYS AND STRONG GIRLS

Peter Pan gets a prequel and updated gender values.

Peter and the Starcatcher cast members rehearse blocking, prepping for hijinks and musical acrobatics. Photo by Robin May

A musical based on a novel co-written by humorist Dave Barry, Peter and the Starcatcher is fast-paced and funny, following the orphan Peter Pan before he becomes the flying, mischievous lost boy. But Starcatcher also introduces a new character to the Pan canon, the empowering female lead, Molly — Wendy’s precocious, brainy predecessor.

The show makes its Lafayette debut in May, courtesy of a collaboration between Wanderlust Production Company and The Tea Sippers Theatre Company.

“The show called to both of our strengths,” says Elsa Dimitriadis of Wanderlust. The two companies’ fruitful collaboration colors the entire large, ensemble production, punctuated with acrobatic lifts, bursts of pirate-song and crisply choreographed stunts and gags. “It’s been a pretty cool fusion,” adds Andrew Lee Vincent, one of the show’s 12 actors. Vincent is a co-founder of The Tea Sippers, a company known predominantly for putting together large-scale musicals. Wanderlust specializes, by contrast, in more avant-garde, movement-based theatre.

Kids will laugh at the broad physical jokes and the cast’s clowning. Adults will love the snappy pace, bobbing with pops of anachronistic humor (“This is the Cadillac Escalade of dilemmas,” cries a distressed pirate), and the sheer energy of the performers themselves, who share an infectious on-stage chemistry.

The buffoonery and swash-buckling nonetheless deliver a timely message, a riff, of sorts, on the classic tale of lost innocence and wild boys.

“I don’t know how political you wanna get,” laughs Vincent. “But I think it’s really important for girls right now to see that it’s OK for them to be who they are, to follow their dreams.” — Christine Baniewicz

Wednesday – Sunday, May 24 – 28, Acadiana Center for the Arts

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