Peter Pan Goes Wrong

"To give it anything less that five stars would be wrong!"

Peter Pan Goes Wrong was my introduction to the world of 'Goes Wrong' / Mischief productions, and it was a rollercoaster of comedic chaos. The plot revolves around the Cornley Polytechnic Dramatic Society attempting to stage Peter Pan, with characters meta multi-roling various roles within roles. The execution of this concept is excellent, shown when the audience start to root for Max, portrayed by the talented Matthew Cavendish. His subplot unfolds with moments that evoke heartfelt 'awwws' and cheers.

Charlie Russell, in the role of Sandra, delivers a fantastic performance that showcases everything one might expect from a polytechnic drama society—and more. Every move is executed with passion and flair, including the funky dance breaks, demonstrating a level of commitment that is comparable to that one performer every school or college has.

For anyone with experience in staging a dramatic production, the show is a comedic goldmine. The realism is so true it hurts, while certain moments are deliberately exaggerated to drive home the humour. Awkwardly long freeze frames are reminiscent of directors shouting "don't move until the lights change".

Special mention goes to Jean-Luke Worrell, who steals the spotlight with a glorious rendition of 'All That Jazz' and an unforgettable freeze frame. Following the interval, Harry Kershaw shines in the role of Chris/Captain Hook, commanding the stage with charisma. The audience's boos are more playful than disdainful, creating an engaging two way moment.

I was concerned it might resemble the poorly executed mishaps seen in a pantomime. This is so far from what I witnessed, it’s so wrong its right! Its unique brand of humour, with cheesy yet endearing acting, is a perfect fit. The use of big technical visual gags such as malfunctioning scenery and flying adds to the hilarity, however it is the characters of the Cornley Polytechnic Dramatic Society that won me over, I will definitely see their other productions.

Beyond the on-stage antics, the production also stands out for its charitable initiative, raising funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital. The inclusion of a QR code in the program facilitates donations, and the program itself is a treasure trove of laughs.

A final nod goes to Chris Leask, who embodies the role of Trevor the Stage Manager, portraying all-too-relatable techies with an abundance of power tools, extension cables and butt crack, I think the only thing missing was gaffer tape.

To give it anything less that five stars would be wrong!

This show was reviewed on the 28th November 2023.  Peter Pan Goes Wrong runs at the Lyric Theatre, London until the 14th January 2024 then returns on tour across the UK.  Full tour details can be found here: PeterPanGoesWrong UK Tour (mischiefcomedy.com)

Review written by Valentine Gale-Sides

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Photo credit: Pamela Raith

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