Lost Boy (directed by Brittany Lowey) is not just another Peter Pan show. I do admit that I’ve seen a whole slew of Peter Pan shows: from the Peter Pan musical to Broadway’s Finding Neverland to the poetic interpretation Peter/Wendy. You can imagine my reaction when I heard that I’d soon be adding another to my list.
Lost Boy by Ronald Gabriel Paolillo is the best kind of unexpected. The shows surrounds a grim interpretation of author J.M. Barrie’s (Aaron Fysh) life. When James was just a child, he watched as his all-too-adventurous brother, Davey (Jordan Shapiro), runs onto an icy pond and falls to his death. James and his mother (Olivia Fusco) are still tormented by the accident years later. After becoming a successful playwright, James returns to his hometown only to find himself acquainted with his childhood bully, Sean O’Rourke (Cobourn Sands), and Sean’s wife, Maureen (Aleesa Prendergast). James finds a friend in Maureen and creates the story of Peter Pan with her as he navigates the resurfaced stresses of his childhood.
The set and prop design help shape the emotion in a show that covers a heavy topic. At Davey’s funeral, a wooden coffin (built by Kevin Knight) is lowered right in front of the audience. The coffin sits at the feet of viewers in the front row, letting them know that they are now in James’s melancholic world.
Fysh, after performing as the titular character in AHSC’s production of The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza, continues his success in theatre as James. He is able to recreate vivid emotions as if he is living the events of the play. The opening monologue about his brother weighs heavily on the shoulders of all who listen. Fysh keeps a steady energy throughout the entire production, gaining the audience’s trust the minute he steps foot onto the stage.
Maureen O’Rourke is a lovely character and Prendergast is the perfect choice for the role. Prendergast combines elements of sweetness, anxiety, and emotional intelligence to put forth a character that is bound to be loved. She works nicely with Fysh to create a beautiful relationship, a love that can never be.
So many cast members brought exciting acting methods to the table. As Davey and Peter Pan, Shapiro brought childlike wonder to the stage. He was able to incorporate small quirks, such as stamping feet or fidgeting, to transform himself into a small boy. Emily Tennenhouse made a great old crow using vocal tones and pacing to her advantage.
Transitions between scenes were often a little loud as chairs or cups could be heard moving around. As well, they often seemed long. Lowey often had small scenes to fill the transition periods which helped with the length, but the noise level often distracted from the added acting.
The dancing was a lovely touch to show off the talents of the cast. Amber Roberts-Mathieu danced her heart out as the over the top Mary Ansell Barrie, wife of James. In a stark contrast, Davey dance with his mother (Olivia Fusco), giving viewers a heartfelt look at the Barries’ past.
When you see Lost Boy, you are not seeing just another Peter Pan show. You are seeing an emotional piece of drama that offers a behind the scenes look at how Peter Pan could have been created. The talented cast is sure to take you to Neverland with their dedication and energy!