Peter Pan 

Four stars
Beef & Boards; directed by Eddie Curry

I finally know why people stage Peter Pan repeatedly, and it isn’t for the Broadway tunes. From “I Gotta Crow” to the non-PC Indian dance “Ugg-a-Wugg,” there’s not much to inspire. Underneath some honeyed lullabies and funny pirate tangos, however, is James M. Barrie’s play about the boys who became lost after they fell out of their baby carriages. Why no girls in their Neverland? Because, Lost Boy leader Peter says, girls are too clever to fall out of carriages. Wise Peter also knows that growing up can’t compare to fighting pirates. He longs only for a mother to tell him stories and sew him pockets. This guy is irresistible — to mothers if not to the girls who want his kind to grow up. The fine songstress Tiana Checckia, who must crow like a rooster for Peter’s signature tune, succeeds in making the boy endearingly arrogant throughout. Still, Jeff Stockberger as Hook is the unqualified captain of this Beef & Boards production. Flanked by bumbling pirates, the crocodile-fearing, flamboyantly dressed villain sings, dances and arches eyebrows to campy perfection. The next big star is fly director Troy Trinkle, who makes Peter, Wendy and family fly across the stage. The sentimental story and vicarious thrills would mean little if director Eddie Curry didn’t get top performances from his small cast, including the many child performers. They know that spectacle is no substitute for excellence. Through June 29; 317-876-0503.

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