Clever, funny and a riot to watch, PETER PAN GOES WRONG is a brilliant example of slapstick and physical comedy
The fictional Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society is a plucky, sometimes misguided theatre company. For their Christmas play (it is NOT a panto!) director Chris Bean (Connor Crawford) has decided to produce Peter Pan. Yet despite their enthusiastic cast and sizeable budget, the performance seems destined to go terribly and hilariously wrong.
Before the performance even begins, it is apparent that things are not going to plan as stage manager Trevor (Ethan Moorhouse) wanders out front-of-house, beer in hand, trying to sort out the lighting and electronics. It’s a brilliant foreshadowing of what’s to come and a great way of preparing the audience for an unusual night at the theatre.
The performers themselves have a difficult job to do. As trained actors, they have to perform badly, but in such a way that is comedic and embarrassing to watch. They pull it off amazingly, each in their own unique way. Katy Daghorn (Sandra/Wendy) overacts every line with questionable movement as the diva leading lady, while Ciaran Kellgren as leading man Jonathan, pulls off the smug, irritating Pan role perfectly, making it all the more satisfying when underdog Max (played by Tom Babbage) finally gets his chance to prove himself.
Director and Co-Director Chris Bean (Crawford) and Robert Grove (Oliver Senton) also take on acting roles. Crawford is excellent as Mr. Darling and the pompous Captain Hook, trying and failing to stay in character. His slapstick is some of the best in the show. A highlight of the performance is Oliver Senton attempting to stall before Act 2, as some of his anecdotes are comedy gold. Other standouts include the stage-shy Lucy (Georgia Bradley), who possibly takes the saying “break a leg” a little too literally, Narrator Francis (Patrick Warner) who never gets his entrance right and Dennis (Romayne Andrews), who never learned his lines.
It’s incredibly impressive to make a play go wrong so smoothly. There are many stunts, moving set pieces and pyrotechnics that the tech and stage crew must be commended. The climax, which involves a revolving set, a seesaw pirate ship, and a paramedic, is not only incredibly funny but a marvel to watch, as there is so much going on at once. It’s impossible to take it all in, but the cast do a fantastic job of weaving the backstage drama into all the disaster.
Though most of the timing is perfect, the odd joke here and there is dragged out longer than needed and with so many injuries and cast changes, it’s hard to keep up at times. But overall, PETER PAN GOES WRONG is a riot to watch. It’s not all physical comedy, there’s the odd blink-and-you’ll-miss-it one-liner, some silly song and dances. There are even a couple of jokes for the adults thrown in that would go over kids’ heads, but this would be a great night out for the whole family.
PETER PAN GOES WRONG is a brilliant example of slapstick and physical comedy. Following the hugely successful THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG and A COMEDY ABOUT A BANK ROBBERY, I’m excited to see what Mischief Theatre do next. would absolutely recommend this show.
PETER PAN GOES WRONG runs at The Lowry, Salford until 7 December 2019.
Lucy is a nineteen-year-old aspiring actress from Glossop. She is currently studying Music Theatre at the University Of Central Lancashire and hopes to move onto a career in performance. She also has interests in reading, writing and music.