GIVE THIS MAN A HAND That's John Sanders holding that key (with a hand that will soon be cut off). He's the best thing about this production.
There's a production of Peter and the Starcatcher at the Moore right now that's so production-rich, so dreamy looking, so fabric heavy, so storybookish, so inventive in its staging, it practically cries out for some kind of official Stranger ranking system for how stoned you should be when you see it. Dom's written about going to the opera stoned; Brendan's written about seeing children's theater stoned. Allow me to likewise recommend seeing this "grownup's prequel to Peter Pan" stoned; after all, "grownup's prequel to Peter Pan" is a little misleading, and elsewhere, tellingly, in fine print, the producers recommend it for children ages 10+. If it's for grownups, that's because grownups are allowed to smoke doobies in this town. I give this show two doobies out of three. Or whatever. (See? We need an official ranking system!)
"Look how great that drape is," my date said before it started. (He's a fellow theater fag—just a couple fairies seeing the Peter Pan prequel is all. Shush.) And it's true, the drape is great. Right away you can tell that the scenic designer (Donyale Werle) is a genius (you can't tell in that photo above, sorry); and that the lightning designer (Jeff Croiter) is amazing; and that the directors (Roger Rees and Alex Timbers) are very skilled; and that the actors are all top-notch (they're all out of towers, as this is a touring production). But the the script itself drags a bit. I mean, it's for people ages 10+, after all. There are no adult situations, but there are a whole bunch of goofy fart jokes.
If there is a reason to go, other than that you have a kid, or that you have a joint in your pocket, it's to see the performance by John Sanders, which is nothing short of a miracle. He plays the aspiring pirate who will become Captain Hook, and he plays it as a twitching, preening, reedy, self-pleased, striped-socked nancy of a man who's trying his damnedest to be ruthless and failing, hilariously. His lines are either sprinkled with hilarious anachronisms (like when he says, under his breath, "Good times," or when he asks one character if her milkshake brings the boys to the yard) or he's ad-libbing them, or both. When Sanders loses his hand in act two, he commences saying "Oh my god!" in a hundred different ways. Two hundred different ways? I don't know, but it was a lot of different ways, and somehow it never got old; he is a pro, and he is hilarious. Or maybe it was that joint I smoked at intermission? I don't know. All I can say is, at the end of act one, I was grumpy that this was more oriented toward children than I had realized, but by the end of act two, where Sanders really gets to shine, all I could think about was the ways in which Peter and the Starcatcher reillustrates how fun and intimate and vivid storytelling can be.