A harrowing and engaging ‘Lost Boy’ at Colonial Players

The Annapolis Colonial Players continue their season with The lost Boy, a half-fantasy, half-reality exploration of Peter Pan the tumultuous story of author JM Barrie. The play, written by Ronald Gabriel Paolillo and directed by Joe Thompson, begins with the tragic event that sparked Barrie’s interest in “lost boys” – the sudden and untimely death of his 13-year-old brother, David (affectionately called “Davey”).

Rick Estberg as James Barrie begins this traumatic event at the age of six. Estberg has the ability to compellingly inhabit Barrie’s memories, illuminating the origins of his strained relationship with his mother, Margaret (Shannon Benil). Much of the emotional impact of this piece is carried by Benil, who is devastating in the heartbreaking things she says to Barrie as well as sympathetic in her grief. The relationship between Barrie and Margaret in the wake of Davey’s death unfolds satisfactorily, with most of the story following James on a journey back to his hometown of Kirriemuir, Scotland, after some success in as a writer in London.

Rick Estberg as James Barrie and Lesley Miller as Maureen O’Rourke in “The Lost Boy.” Photo by Brandon Bentley.

When James returns home, he befriends Maureen O’Rourke (Lesley Miller), the wife of the local pub. Miller is fascinated with Barrie as Maureen. The “will-won’t-they” nature of her character’s relationship with Barrie is one of the strongest dramatic threads. Scott Sanders plays her buddy and morally questionable husband, Sean, with aplomb.

Much of the play takes place in fantasy sequences. Chase Nester is both young Davey and Peter Pan. He’s a strong actor and carries much of the fantasy that unfolds as Barrie develops the lore of Neverland. Katia Rini, Emma Miller and Abigail Traverson play the fairytale inhabitants of Neverland (among other roles), flitting about while supporting Edd Miller’s Old Crow, who raises Peter Pan until he’s old enough to go off on his own. adventures.

Most of the actors play multiple roles, moving between the real story and the fantasy world created by Barrie. Miller’s Old Crow becomes Captain Hook, then actor Gerald du Maurier. Megan Henderson, biting and sarcastic Tinker Bell, also becomes James Barrie’s eternally dissatisfied wife, Mary. This arrangement works well, and everyone in the cast handles the transitions admirably.

Edd Miller as Captain Hook and Megan Henderson as Tinker Bell in “The Lost Boy.” Photos by Brandon Bentley.

The designers are also to be commended for pulling off such a complex show in the Colonial Players unique performance space. Edd Miller, who is also the set designer in addition to his many roles, has created moving pieces that dot the landscape. At a given moment, a setting can be a coffin; the next, a table. Director Joe Thompson has done a great job of keeping the lines clear and there’s never any confusion during these transitions. Costume designer Linda Ridge’s nimble abilities also take us from the late 19th century to the fantasy realm of Neverland.

The Colonial Players brought a compelling production to their scene. The aspects of the play that explored the psychological underpinnings of Barrie’s fantasy worlds were particularly interesting. I confess that I went into this show thinking that there couldn’t be much else to learn about Peter Pan – how wrong I was! With its strong acting and creative design, The lost Boy is a must-see show on this treasured Annapolis stage.

Duration: 2h30 including 1 intermission of 15 minutes.

The lost Boy is played through March 6, 2022 at Colonial Players of Annapolis – 108 East Street, Annapolis, MD. Tickets ($23 regular adult; $18 student, senior, and military) can be purchased on line.

COVID Safety: Colonial players require face masks to be properly worn by everyone at all times, regardless of vaccination status.

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