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Peter Pan Goes Wrong

Peter Pan Goes Wrong

Following their multi award-winning sell-out success with The Play That Goes Wrong and the BBC TV series The Goes Wrong Show, Mischief return with their riotous spin on a timeless classic, the West End smash hit Peter Pan Goes Wrong.

The members of the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society are back on stage, battling technical hitches, flying mishaps and cast disputes as they attempt to present J.M Barrie’s much-loved tale. But will they ever make it to Neverland?

Mischief’s unique brand of hilarious, 'gut-busting' comedy (New York Times), has found universal appeal. Catch them on tour and brace yourselves for an awfully big adventure!


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Peter Pan Goes Wrong ON TOUR

Our review on Peter Pan Goes Wrong

Peter Pan Goes Wrong - Opera House, Manchester - Tuesday 26th March 2024 by Karen Ryder

Our Rating

Mischief are back in Manchester, creating chaos in our fabulous Opera House!  And we wouldn’t have it any other way, for anytime this award-winning company fly in to greet us with their fabulous presence, is a time we are guaranteed to love life once again.  The treat on offer is the Olivier award-nominated West End and Broadway smash hit Comedy Peter Pan Goes Wrong.  Written by Mischief Theatre originals, Henry Lewis, Henry Shields and Jonathan Sayer, it has everything you’ve come to expect from this world renowned company.  They still manage to keep you guessing though, taking you by surprise and blowing your mind with outstanding slapstick theatre that teeters on the brink of impressive and dangerous stunt work!

As with any Mischief Theatre ‘goes wrong’ show, make sure you arrive early, for the entertainment starts way before the curtain goes up, and it would be such a shame to miss a second of what they have on offer.  The cast usually arrive in the audience from around 7ish, involving us in their mishaps, chaos, and teasing us with a taste of what’s to come.  We start to understand their characters relationship dynamics, and as stagehands feed electrical wiring through the audience, others look for a missing hammer, Peter Pan is wandering around offering selfies and as the director tries to locate a runaway cast member, you will be fizzed into a frenzy of glee before the show has even officially begun!

Mischief Theatre
describe themselves with the beautiful and fitting statement that they are serious about silliness.  Celebrating ten years of shows in the West End, they have grown into a global sensation and created award-winning comedy for stage, screen and beyond.  Upon graduating, a group of friends created an improvisational group, started performing across the UK, and have never stopped since.  Their winning formula provides essential escapism (or ridiculous escapism as they like to call it) through humour, mishaps, and that innate and questionable instinct we all have to laugh at others accidental misfortunes.

Peter Pan Goes Wrong, as with all the ‘goes wrong’ shows, is a brilliantly constructed world that follows the characters from Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society as they attempt to produce shows for stage or screen.  Their complicated dynamics and backstage relationships often interfere with the show in question, and so we are privy to a play within a play and all the backstage hilarity that goes with it!  Each performer therefore presents us with their ‘real character’ who is an actor with Cornley, and the role they have been given in the particular play.

It is a wonderful concept because if you follow the ‘goes wrong’ shows, then you already know and understand the dynamics between the Cornley group members, and we continually get to see them in various different settings, roles, and become hooked on the jealousies, resentments, and egos that come with this.  It really is brilliant!  It also provides permission to break the fourth wall as the director can speak to the audience and include us in the evenings proceedings.  And so as Cornley attempt to put on Peter Pan, we quickly learn that perhaps they are slightly over ambitious, accident prone, and ill prepared.  Add alter egos and a director in denial into the mix, and it appears that Cornley are prepared to live and die by the motto ‘The Show Must Go On’ - even when flying mishaps, cast disputes, tumbling windows and technical nightmares mean it is quite literally falling down around them!

One of the many highlights of Mischief Theatres ‘Goes Wrong’ shows are the phenomenally designed sets.  They continually reveal surprises, make you hold your breath with anticipation, and keep both audience and cast alike on our toes throughout!  Designed by Simon Scullion, Peter Pan Goes Wrong delights with a revolving set that transports us from the various locations of Neverland, to the Darlings house, and a few more obscure and unexpected treats along the way.  What else would you expect from Cornley after all?  A revolving set has so many perfect opportunities for disaster and they all deliver.  A revolving stage that doesn’t revolve, to one that won’t stop revolving, to it revolving at the wrong time, exposing the cast in some precarious positions!  As this blindly determined troupe desperately attempt to continue, they slowly but surely lose cast members along the way to electrocution, a plummeting fall from the rafters, others get squished by collapsing bunk beds, the narrator has an ongoing feud with his chair, the pirate ship has a mind of its own, and that’s before we even get started on the flying and all the accidents that creates!  These elements of disaster are also immersive, treating us to lights that constantly flicker on and off in the theatre itself.  Mischief really have thought of everything!

Directed by Adam Meggido, the pace is perfect, the comedy ingeniously allowed to thrive to its full potential, and the comradery is palpable.  Jack Michael Stacey gifts us with his performance of the frazzled director Chris Bean.  Of course, Chris Bean has also cast himself in the play and so we see him attempt to take on the roles of Mr. Darling and Captain Hook with a deluded grandeur.  His hilarity comes from his desire to take himself so seriously, even when everything around is screaming for him to loosen up and go with the flow.  His melt downs are legendary and his direct improvisation and frustration with the audience when he refuses to accept that this show is a pantomime is side splittingly fantastic!  Matthew Howell is our Robert, an envious wanna be director whose self belief shines brighter than the second star on your right!  He dazzles us by continually switching character from Nana the dog, to the side-splitting shadow of Peter Pan, and Starkey the posh pirate!  But it is his unrivalled resentment as Robert that truly brings everything he does to life in such a side-splitting way, making his role even funnier to witness.  He tries to smooth everything over with a cheeky smile and sheer determination, including the early demise of a child from Oliver!

Gareth Tempest’s
as Jonathan plays Peter Pan as someone who most definitely loves the spotlight, and he likes to dazzle with a winning smile.  He is brilliant at switching from panic when his flying goes wrong, to turning on the showbiz charm in a heartbeat.  Ciara Morris as Sandra plays Wendy with a brilliant seriousness of her art, and her outbursts of interpretive dance are hilarious.  She is so determined to take her moment in the spotlight that she desperately tries to ignore the chaos surrounding her.  Clark Devlin is Dennis, who brings us John and Smee, all through a set of headphones as he can’t remember his lines.  His wooden delivery is just superb, and his timing of lines to create comedy is spot on.  He doesn’t blink an eye when switching from his lines, to delivering radio updates or unknowingly reiterating a marriage break up!  Jean-Luke Worrell’s as Francis is our brilliant narrator who provides rip roaring squeals at his ongoing battle with his chair.  He has a brilliant moment in the second act as a pirate when he has to ‘fill’ and leads the entire audience in a 90’s boy band sing song!  The energy in the theatre at this point is just fabulous.

Theo Toksvig-Stewart’s
had the entire theatre rooting for him as Max.  He won everyone over with his endearing nature, loveable yet gormless smiles and waves to the audience, and his caddish crocodile who even came with his own cute catchphrase!  He could melt your heart with a look, and played the character to perfection.  Jamie Birkett as Annie plays so many roles and makes this a fantastic fete with quick changes, singing, light up costumes, various accents, and goodness knows what else.  Every time someone opens a door it seems she is there as a different character and I have to give a special mention to her singing!  What a voice!  Rosemarie Akwafo is Lucy and introduces herself before the show has officially started by being our terrified and runaway actress, forced into the spotlight by her overbearing uncle Robert.  She is like a bunny in headlights and gives an amazing performance as the terrified actress, who finally finds her voice in a strange turn of events.  Jake Burgum as Trevor the stagehand is brilliant, far more interested in his phone than the job at hand and it creates some epic moments, which result in him learning how to fly!!  He is the opposite of every lovie on stage, with his down to earth and unimpressed attitude and it works so well.

The audience are allowed to take their moment too with the inclusion of panto style responses being encouraged of “it’s behind you,” and no one hesitates at joining in.  Peter Pan Goes Wrong is quick, slick and full of slapstick!  Never has getting it wrong been so right.  A masterclass in physical theatre, comedy, stage combat, improvisation and teamwork, that will leave you with a heightened state of adrenalin and uncontrollable tears of joy.  Character driven gags mingle with running gags, chaos and crossed wires, resulting in a comic spectacle that is uniquely Mischief Theatre.  Brilliantly bonkers!


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