REVIEW by Anthony Chase: PETER AND THE STARCATCHER at MusicalFare

The first show out of the gate this season was MusicalFare’s charming production of Peter and the Starcatcher, directed by Chris Kelly. This “prequel” to Peter Pan reveals how the boy who never grew up came to be Peter Pan. This is a fast-paced and good-natured production, full of invention and flights of whimsy.

I especially enjoyed Renee Landrigan as Molly, the feisty young daughter of a British naval officer.

Steve Copps is a crowd pleaser, channeling Tim Curry as he plays Black Stache, the man who will become Captain Hook. His effeminate energy and shameless buffoonery are infectious.

Similarly shameless is Anthony Alcocer, especially as Fighting Prawn, an island chieftain with a grudge against the British empire.

Jordan Levin is fully committed as earthy Mrs. Bumbrake, Molly’s devoted nanny.

The lost boys: Daniel Torres as Prentiss, Preston D. Williams as Ted, and Jesse Tiebor as the boy who will be Peter are uniformly adorable, each giving his character individuality and purpose.

Doug Weyand, as always, good as Capt. Scott; as are Kevin Craig as Smee, and Bobby Cooke as Lord Aster, Philip Farugia in multiple roles, and Jacob Albarella as Alf. Mr. Farugia also provides the steady musical direction.

Chris Schenk’s set is imaginative and fun, as are Kari Drozd’s costumes, and Susan Drozd’s hair, wig, and make-up designs.

I might wish for a more unified production in which individual performances felt less like stand alone burlesque pieces, and in which the delicious language of Rick Elice’s script with its numerous plays on words, and caprices of class was more fully explored. Still, this very ambitious production mostly delivers and provides an engaging diversion. When the show hits the mark, it is fabulous, as in the mermaid opening of the second act. I still get the giggles thinking about it.

Through Oct 8, Wed & Thu at 7, Fri at 7:30, Sat at 3:30 & 7:30, Sun at 2. MusicalFare Theatre, 4380 Main St., Amherst (839-8540). www.musicalfare.com