The Column Online



By Rick Elice
Music by: Wayne Barker
Based on the Novel by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson

The Firehouse Theatre

Director – Tyler Jeffrey Adams
Musical Director – Alex Heika
Stage Manager – Nicholas Walters
Choreographer – Kelly McCain
Costume – Ryan Schaap
Set Design – Kevin Brown
Lighting Designer – Josh Hensley

CAST (at reviewed performance)
Boy (Peter) – Garrett Reeves
Molly Aster – Caitlin Jones
Black Stache – Sterling Gafford
Prentiss – Samuel Cress
Ted – Mark Quach
Grempkin/Fighting Prawn – Sean Massey
Smee – Stephen Newton
Mrs. Bumbrake/Teacher – Shawn Gann
Slank/Hawking Clam – Jacob Lewis
Lord Aster – Billy Betsill
Alf – Dustin Curry
Captain Scott – Quintin Jones
Mack/Sanchez – Jared Johnson

Reviewed Performance: 4/7/2017

Reviewed by Jeremy William Osborne, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

Cathy Rigby need not apply to a production of Peter and the Starcatcher. The low tech telling of a possible Peter Pan origin story by humor columnist Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson requires no flying harnesses or acrobatic stunts.

The play tells the story of a group of orphans sent to a remote island parallel to the story of a young apprentice Starcatcher, a secret group sworn to prevent “Star Stuff” from falling into the wrong hands. The two stories intertwine with the interference of pirates and childlike curiosity, ending with the foundation of Neverland and the hero, Peter Pan.

Tyler Jeffrey Adams made an already technically simple show even simpler with a children playing in an attic concept that thrilled this reviewer. With a cast more than capable of making each character believable, the Firehouse Theatre provided a wonderful night of escape with a couple technical hiccups.

Firehouse Theatre has a faulty microphone that plagued previous productions with noise and reared its head during the opening of the reviewed performance. However, the crew was quick to fix or remove it and the show went on without further noticeable sound problems. Everything else was audibly great.

Whether there were old cues left in the light board from tech rehearsals or a board operator mistake, as the show drew to a close there were several glaringly obvious mistimed blackouts. So obvious were the lighting mistakes they were the topic of discussion amongst audience members post-show.

Aside from the cue problems, Josh Hensley’s lighting design for Peter and the Starcatcher were well suited for the show. The best decision between Hensley and director Tyler Jeffrey Adams was to use small flashlights held by cast members to represent stars. It was another example of the effectiveness low tech concepts often lend to storytelling.

As an ensemble, the cast gelled together well. Many times they demonstrated the ability to play off each other in the face of adversity. In moments they were comfortable enough to ad lib a line or two. This was featured most prominent in the unintended destructive rampage Sterling Gafford, as Black Stache, went on during the reviewed performance. From a painful, cringe inducing bonk on Stephen Newton’s, as Smee head, to striking a practical light on stage with a football, causing a small explosion of glass and electricity, the performance was full of surprises the cast took in stride well.

Molly Astor was full of youthful curiosity but conflicted with the duty of being an apprentice Starcatcher. The boy, later named Peter by his soon-to-be pirate nemesis, grew up mistreated and mistrusting but unafraid of the unknown. Caitlin Jones’ and Garrett Reeves’ portrayals of such complex coming-of-age characters were fantastic.

Plenty of humorous interludes were provided but none as entertaining as the relationship between Alf and Mrs. Bumbrake. The duo of Dustin Curry and Shawn Gann took every opportunity to ham up the characters’ budding romance, made even more humorous by the transgender nature of Mrs. Bumbrake.

Stephen Newton was the young sycophant Smee we all remember for previous versions of the Peter Pan story. Paired with Sterling Gafford’s foppish Black Stache, the two were the most entertaining duo of the production. With Gafford’s previously mentioned gaffes providing the two opportunities to insert quick, off the cuff quips which kept the audience on their toes and amused throughout the performance.

Peter and the Starcatcher at The Firehouse Theatre is a delightful night of fantasy. With a stellar cast the show continues Firehouse’s reputation for excellence and is wonderful family entertainment.

Firehouse Theatre
2535 Valley View Ln
Farmers Branch, TX 75234

Runs through April 23rd

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday performances at 7:30 pm and Saturday and Sunday performances at 2:30 pm

Tickets are $12 for children under the age of 12, $20 for students aged 12 – 22 and First Responders, $22 for Seniors age 65 and up, and $25 for Adults. However, on Saturday matinées the ticket prices are $6 for children under the age of 12, $10 for students aged 12 – 22 and First Responders, $11for Seniors age 65 and up, and $12.50 for Adults.

For tickets and information, go to or call their box office at (972) 620-3747.