VST Production Transports Students to Enchanting Land



Natalie Psyhogeos Staff Writer

This week marked the arrival of Villanova Student Theatre’s production of “Peter and the Starcatcher.” Starting Tuesday night and running through Feb. 23rd, the show, directed by Vincent Raspa, transported the audience in St. Mary’s Theatre to the high seas and remote island adventures with vibrant deliverances from the actors, captivating stage effects and delightful music.

“Peter and the Starcatcher” is a prequel to the tale of Peter Pan and creates a gripping origin story of the beloved character. The work focuses on a girl named Molly (Elise Hall). She is a “starcatcher in training” and is tasked with her first mission: to protect a trunk her father (Christopher Woodard) has entrusted to her, as it is full of “starstuff,” magic so powerful that, if placed in the wrong hands, will have catastrophic consequences. The father and daughter separate themselves on two ships, The Neverland and The Wasp, and set sail from their native London to a faraway land. 

The Wasp is taken over by a band of pirates, led by the villainous Black Stache (Jack Evans), who are in search of the prized trunk. Molly’s father communicates this to her through their charmed necklaces, and she scours for help aboard The Neverland. Luckily, she finds three orphan boys who accept the duty to watch over the mysterious cargo. One of these boys, named Boy (Alex Kallis), catches the eye of Molly and their budding romance begins. The true adventure starts when The Neverland shipwrecks and the orphans, along with Molly, find themselves on the curious Mollusk Island. Here, Molly is kidnapped by corrupt Slank (Kaylan Purisima) on his quest to also obtain the magical “starstuff.” As Boy ventures through the unknown landscape to save Molly, he is transformed by his brave choices — and a little bit of enchantment — to receive his life’s purpose, along with the gift of the name Peter Pan.

Villanova’s dedicated actors took the audience on a fantastic journey, thanks to their dedication thoroughly convincing portrayals of young and old alike. As Boy/Peter Pan, Kallis artfully embodied the abandoned and innocent character of Boy as he was able to evolve into a driven hero, bursting with courage. His love interest (Hall) was the perfect Molly, whose charming British accent highlighted the youthful determination of the complex fourteen-year-old character. Hall effortlessly morphed into the youthful and driven starcatcher, making the audience fall in love with her. The standout performance was that of Evans, who as Black Stache, nailed the nefarious baddie with wit and gusto as he transformed into one of the most well-known pirates of all time, Captain Hook. The audience was laughing hysterically with every comical mannerism and theatrical temper tantrum. Evans stole the show by surrendering to the over-the-top personality, evident in the crowd’s roar of applause at the curtain call.

Audiences at this Villanova performance were treated to their own treasure, the end result of months of preparation and planning of Peter and the Starcatcher . The show attracted an assembly of all ages, from proud parents to bewitched children whose eyes lit up with every set change. An appreciation for the imagination of the adolescent mind was the overall takeaway, and the audience surrendered to the joyful jaunt to Neverland.