Family theater at its best! | Two Decades of Kids and Counting | Sally Torbey | Palo Alto Online |

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By Sally Torbey

Family theater at its best!

Uploaded: Dec 22, 2014

From Thanksgiving to New Year's Day, life is a fog of airline bookings, tree decorating, card writing, menu planning, gift wrapping, grocery shopping, table setting, cookie baking, vegetable peeling and list making, but for a few hours last weekend, I forgot about my lists as we enjoyed the TheatreWorks production of the musical "Peter and the Starcatcher." Along with my family, I laughed for 2 1/4 hours (with one 15-minute intermission).

The annual TheatreWorks holiday show is a favorite tradition of our holiday season. Many Decembers ago, we became subscribers when a neighbor (and then TheatreWorks board member) gifted us tickets to "The Shop Around the Corner." We were so entertained and ecstatic to discover that theater of such high quality was just a short walk from our home.

Last year our family was charmed by the production of "Little Women", so we had high hopes for the critically-acclaimed "Peter and the Star Catcher", and the production last weekend exceeded even our high expectations. The intimacy of the Lucie Stern Theatre and immersion in the action is great for all ages. The musical has a relentless pace and it was a roller coaster ride anticipating what zany plot twists were coming.

"Peter and the Starcatcher" is a prequel to the much beloved story of Peter Pan. Among other tantalizing facts, we learn how Peter acquired his name, how he came to know Wendy, how Captain Hook became one-handed, how the mermaids came to be, and why the crocodile ticks. The play starts out funny but the second half becomes so over-the-top silly that even the talented professional cast seemed to find it a challenge to stay in character. Some of the actors were barely able to suppress their laughter at the antics of the other characters, which made it all the more hilarious. Our twelve-year-old daughter was so enthralled with "Peter and the Starcatcher" that, when invited by a friend, she jumped at the chance to see the show again this week!

An article in last week's Wall Street Journal gives advice on how to keep up one's spirits at a time of year that, with all its expectations of joy, can be surprisingly difficult. One of the recommendations is to "Do something awesome?that is vast and overwhelming? that challenge(s) your sense of what's possible." Experiencing this energetic performance of a clever and creatively kooky musical that stretches the imagination is not only fun, but an "awesome" mood booster as well!