Peter Pan Goes Wrong Mischief Theatre Company review
Dermot Hoare reviews Mischief Theatre Company's production of Peter Pan Goes Wrong, showing at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford until 27th Nov
Following hard on the heels of their sell out success ‘The Play that goes Wrong’, Mischief Theatre now embark at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre on a National tour with ‘Peter Pan goes Wrong’.
You know you’re in for an evening of fun even as you read your programme. With satirical articles on the possibility of ever reaching Neverland and descriptions of the Cornley Youth Theatre, bogus interviews and spoof resumes clearly this is to be no ordinary play. J.M.Barrie will be turning in his grave as the antics on the stage send up every aspect of his traditional story.
So, we start in the Darling children’s nursery. Here we come across the first of the problems since, due to an accident, Michael’s part now has to be taken by the elderly bearded co-director. Nana, the dog gets stuck in the dog-flap of the nursery door and has to be cut out by the stage hands, the children’s bunk bed almost collapses and we catch a glimpse of Mrs Darling, who doubles as Lisa the maid, doing her swift costume change just outside the room.
From then on everything goes wrong that could possibly do so. Only Wendy stoically soldiers on as if nothing untoward is happening. Peter Pan himself flies in to find his shadow and breaks the window, turns upside down and eventually crash-lands with a bump.
The journey to Neverland, the meeting with the lost children and the arrival of Captain Hook, who never quite masters his hook, and the Pirates all share the same fate of disastrous mishaps. When Tinkerbell’s jealousy of Wendy prompts her to get the children to shoot her down, the arrows hit poor Peter instead.
The scenery and the set don’t help either with pieces falling down and a pirate ship that won’t keep still. Even Peter’s flying apparatus fails and he crashes to the ground requiring a hapless member of the audience to take his place.
Fortunately all ends well – even Tinkerbell is revived from death by the audience’s participation – and we go home knowing that the Peter Pan story is safe once more.
Who does one praise? Well, it’s not easy to do everything wrong night after night so everyone played their part but look out for Naomi Sheldon, who apart from Mrs Darling plays no less than four other characters, Alex Bartram as Peter Pan and Leonie Hill as the indomitable Wendy. But, as I said, they’re all good so go and have a good laugh.