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Open: 10/14/13- Close: 10/14/13 The Lost Boy
Reviewed for TheaterOnline.com By: Ashley Griffin

  MATT MAZZECAPPA co-stars as Peter Pan & Davey Barrie in the Benefit that will also raise funding for a full-scale AEA Production of THELOST BOY for the spring 2014.

"The Lost Boy" is known as the hallmark literary legacy of author Ronald Gabriel Paolillo (who passed away in 2012) perhaps most well known for playing Arnold Horshack on the hit TV series "Welcome Back Kotter." Tonight F.A.C.T presented a staged reading of “The Lost Boy” at the Actors Temple Theatre starring Blake Hammond (of Broadway’s “First Date”) and Matt Mezzacappa (of Broadway’s “A Christmas Carol.”)

“The Lost Boy,” as the program notes has already achieved acclaim here and abroad (the play is published, and available to read and/or option.) However, the play is far from perfect and while interesting, leaves something to be desired.

“The Lost Boy” is premised on a wonderful idea: connecting the events of the life of J. M. Barrie with his penultimate creation “Peter Pan.” The connections are well documented, and at times heart wrenching. Barrie’s older brother Davey died when Davey was thirteen, and James was six. Barrie’s mother blatantly favored Davey, and was devastated by his passing, even going so far as to tell James that “the wrong son died.” J.M. Barrie even stated that once when he was a child he dressed in Davey’s clothes – and that he felt it was the only time his mother really saw him. The idea of the child who never grew up is deeply rooted in Barrie’s loss of his older brother, and is a clear theme in several of his works (besides “Peter Pan” his lesser known play “Mary Rose,” for example, tells the story of a young girl who vanishes as a child and reappears years later having not aged a day.)

  ARTHUR ATKINSON as J. M. Barrie

Part of the problem with “The Lost Boy” is that we’ve seen this story before, and we’ve seen it done better, most notably in the Johnny Depp film “Finding Neverland.” And where as “Finding Neverland” links not only Barrie’s childhood trauma to the creation of Peter Pan, but his relationship with the Davies family (the Davies children were just as much inspirations for the character of Peter,) “The Lost Boy” relegates the Davies to a passing sentence, instead fabricating a meeting between Barrie and a childhood friend – whose wife serves as his sounding board while creating the story.

And whereas “Finding Neverland” linked Barrie’s real life events to the creation of the story we know and love, “The Lost Boy” links it to the creation of a backstory for Peter. In fact, in this play Barrie declares his story “finished” before he has even started the “Peter Pan” story we all know (the last we see of Peter is him coming to Wendy’s window for the first time.) And not only is it an origin story that contradicts backstory elements clearly established in “Peter Pan” but it has also been done better – most notably in “Peter and the Starcatcher” playing just up the street at New World Stages.

As such the play feels a bit long, and a bit unfocused. Dialogue is primarily expository as opposed to helping develop character.

The cast of this staged reading did a fine job – the notable stand outs being Blake Hammond as The Old Crow/Captain Hook/et all, and Danielle Erin Rhodes as a pitch perfect live action Tinker Bell (along with other characters.) Arthur Atkinson lacked a strong arc as Barrie, and was a bit miscast in the role. Director Jack Dyville did a nice job of making the action clear – especially given the need to suggest magical elements in a paired down staged reading setting. 

Venue:
Actors Temple Theatre : 339 West 47th Stree