Review: Peter Pan Goes Wrong
Peter Pan Goes Wrong is material I am very familiar with. I was a huge fan of the production filmed for the BBC in 2016, however, I had never seen it on stage until tonight at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. I was not disappointed one bit. The production created by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields under their theatre company Mischief Theatre is a part of their Goes Wrong series. This includes the famous The Play that Goes Wrong and their TV series The Goes Wrong Show. As with the above, it features a group of amateur actors in the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society.
The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society are a group of actors given the task and budget to put on J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. The group are a calamity group with big egos, crushes and bad acting. This means that the actors are playing characters from the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society as well as characters from Peter Pan. The joy of this becoming a franchise is that the returning characters are recognisable and lovable, particularly the dynamic between Chris Bean and Robert Grove. Mischief Theatre have managed to achieve a successful money-making franchise, which is rare within theatre. Although we have seen successful franchises also expand to theatre, for example, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, we have not seen a franchise solely created on the stage manage to make the jump as Mischief have to TV as well.
It is nice to see the familiar actors returning to work together, time and time again. However, as their shows grow beyond them, new faces must be brought into the picture. The touring production I watched this evening does not feature any of the original cast we have grown to associate with their Cornley counterparts, however, every actor stood up on that stage and brought them to life as if they were the original cast. Chris Bean remained the familiar obnoxious director we know and love, this time played by Jack Michael Stacey. Stacey’s improvisation was superb, and he seemed to really enjoy responding to the audience’s energy as he gets increasingly frustrated with the suggestion that his show is a pantomime.
I am once again reminded of just how great Trevor is as a character, as the stage manager, it is easy to forget about him but Jake Burgum is phenomenally funny from the opening to the closing of the show. I mean hats off to all the cast really, I was particularly impressed by the bow at the end when they invited their real stage management onto the stage for a bow. Anybody who has seen any of the Goes Wrong material will know that the show is a technical logistical nightmare and those individuals who are probably running around like crazy to help the actors absolutely deserve the cheer they got.
Another hilarious and enjoyable success. Mischief Theatre remains high up on my list of theatre companies and I will certainly be tuning into their next big idea.
Snap Snap Snap….
- Show title: Peter Pan Goes Wrong
- Venue: Mayflower Theatre
- Review date: 28th October 2023