J.M Barrie’s whimsical tale of the boy who never grows up in Neverland is one which has been seen revived on stage many times in many different forms, however in recent years there has only been one production which critics and audiences alike have been raving about. That is of course Mischief Theatre’s ‘Peter Pan Goes Wrong’. This farcical play has been hailed a comedy triumph for seven years now. It is currently playing Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre, I had never seen this production, so I was delighted to attend the press evening to see this production for myself.
‘Peter Pan Goes Wrong’ follows Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’s production of ‘Peter Pan’. The story of Wendy, John and Michael, flying away to Neverland with Peter Pan and his trusted fairy sidekick, Tinkerbell is told however not without a few hitches and backstage drama along the way.
Katy Daghorn’s physical approach to Sandra (playing Wendy Darling), is hysterical. Most directors and actors will be able to relate to this portrayal as they have most likely worked with someone like Sandra. The audience are in stitches within seconds of her first section of dialogue/movement.
Tom Babbage as Max (playing Michael Darling, Mermaid and the crocodile) is the most likeable character within all the madness on stage and off stage. This is mainly with how accessible Tom makes Max’s kindness, making him the main protagonist that the audience is rooting for. Especially as the crocodile. Max is a very lovely and funny character in the hands of Tom Babbage.
Christian James plays Jonathan (playing Peter Pan) brilliantly with clearly presenting us a portrayal of Peter Pan and also a slightly sleazy actor. Christian is in fact the understudy of this character, however, his portrayal is great and you wouldn’t have known unless you looked at the programme.
Oliver Senton supplies stupendous pompous humour as Robert (playing Nana the dog, Peter’s Shadow and Starkey). With the way Oliver looks and also the way he portrays Robert, he genuinely could be forgiven for a down on his luck Matthew Kelly, who is instead treading the amateur theatre boards. This portrayal is full of humour especially with some of the more morbid jokes, Oliver takes his time in making sure they really sink in and doesn’t let good dialogue be wasted.
George Haynes does brilliantly in making Chris (playing Mr Darling and Captain Hook) the butt of every joke, and with the audience laughing at him rather than with him. The great love hate relationship that George embraces with the audience really lands, it is an extremely difficult thing to do, but with his approach to the dialogue, the audience’s sides are splitting.
Romayne Andrews as Dennis (Playing John Darling, Mr Smee and Mermaid), is excellently inventive when it comes to his approach to the comic gag that Dennis has throughout the performance. He manages to keep this long-lasting gag funny, fresh, and adaptable, mainly doing this through his ever-changing delivery and clever reactions to dialogue.
While obviously laughing you also can’t help but be in awe with the energy and dedication Phoebe Ellabani presents as Annie (playing Mrs Darling, Lisa, Tinker Bell and Tiger Lilly). The drive this actress has is clear from the physicality, excited energy and delightful performance she manages to present the audience while balancing all the logistics that come with this production. Phoebe is a great example of why being in any of Mischief Theatre’s productions, you need to have an enormous amount of talent for the farcical nature of this show to come alive.
Patrick Warner must have bruises and a fear of chairs with portraying Francis (playing the narrator and Cecco). Patrick’s voice is like honey and is perfect for a narrator so he is the best fit for this character. What also makes this champagne casting is that Patrick is brilliant which physically throwing himself into the stunts, which is needed for the humour to really impact the audience. This is a really great casting for this supporting character.
Georgia Bradley as Lucy (playing Tootles) is a portrayal which as much as we laugh at her dispense there is also a great character journey within there which thanks to Georgia’s portrayal makes the audience fall in love and feel for this character.
Ethan Moorhouse as Trevor, Soroosh Lavasani as Marra, Eboni Dixon as Naomi and Ava Pickett as Casie brilliantly portray the incompetent tech team. These guys build and hold the chaotic atmosphere within the theatre brilliantly.
However, the real heroes in this production are the team backstage, controlling the chaos safely and helping make sure that everything goes wrong. Katie Thackeray is the company stage manager, Tom Lewer is the deputy stage manager, Glyn Dodd, Joseph Brown, Nick Titley are the technical assistant stage managers and Constança Lobo is the sound operator. There guys are incredible and it is a joy that they of course get their own bows.
Adam Meggido’s direction brings Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields script to life in an energetic hysterical fiasco which leaves the audience’s cheeks hurting from laughing. Simon Scullion’s ingenious quadruple purpose revolving stage, booby trapped with probably up to one hundred faults, is insanely impressive and is imperative for this production to be as funny. It is complemented by Matt Haskin’s lighting design, it is enriched by Roberto Surace’s costume design and Ella Wahlström’s sound design.
‘Peter Pan Goes Wrong’ is a production unlike any other, Mischief Theatre’s hysterical, farcical comedy is one for all the family and is a great piece of theatre. If you want a very funny night at the theatre then try and get a ticket, as they are snapped up very quickly!
GET TICKETS FOR ‘PETER PAN GOES WRONG’ UK TOUR: https://www.peterpangoeswronglive.com/uk-tour/venues-tickets
Written by Lewis C. Baird