Matchbox Children's Theatre: Peter Pan with a twist
A story based on the tale of Peter Pan, throw in a murder mystery for some drama, but plenty of laughs to go around, too.
That's what you're likely to find with the latest production from Matchbox Children's Theatre, "C.S.I. Neverland." The play is Thursday and Friday evenings at the Paramount Theatre.
"Who doesn't love Peter Pan and Tink and pirates?" said co-director Madlain Vander.
It's the first time in 36 years that Matchbox will present a fully staged summer production. The 33-member cast features actors ranging in age from 8 to 18.
The group started rehearsals in the beginning of July, right after the conclusion of the Matchbox Summer Theatre camp. Some of the cast members are participating in their first show with Matchbox.
"Boy, have they worked hard," Vander said.
The play is set in Never Ever Land with Tink and her sidekick Detective Investigator Murk working to solve the crime of who "murdered" the shadow of Peter Pantaloon. Some of the characters include pirates, lost kids (who are now old), Never Ever Land natives, lab rats and Penelope Moppins (who resembles Mary Poppins).
Their journey of solving the murder takes Tink and her sidekick to Never Ever Land. Moppins meets Capt. Sharp (based on Capt. Hook) on the Internet. Moppins also goes undercover for Tink.
It has a murder-mystery element, with a Peter-Pan twist and some "slapstick humor" and "continuous spoofs," Vander said.
"I think it's brilliant playwriting," Vander said. "And it works because it's just really funny.
"How often do you get a sword fight in a play?"
The Matchbox board had been wanting to perform this play for a while because it liked the script, but the play is longer than other others the group has done. It's about 45 minutes for each act, Vander said, so there will an intermission.
"We keep pushing the limits of what's been done before," Vander said.
Being that this doesn't conflict with any Riverland Community College theater shows, lots of kids had time at this point in summer to be in a play. Summer activities have ceased or are winding down, so kids might be just waiting for school to start, Vander said.
"What we realized is we don't have problems getting participation," Vander said. "This is a really good time to do it."