Peter Pan Goes Wrong
Reviewed on Tuesday 8th December 2015
It's official - Mischief Theatre are unstoppable! In 2013 The Play That Goes Wrong - which was created as an improvised piece by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields - premiered at the Old Red Lion, a pub theatre in Camden. Two and a half years later the play is celebrating its first birthday in the West End and Mischief have brought their second creation Peter Pan Goes Wrong to the West End for a festive run.
Peter Pan Goes Wrong sees the 'Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society' reach new lows as they attempt to stage a production of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan. Of course the performance is disastrous; there are major technical issues, backstage love triangles, medical emergencies... flying mishaps... it is a work of genius.
I can't remember the last time I was part of such a crazy audience, those around me were producing some of the strangest sounds I have ever heard. The long-running spat between the director and co-director about their production 'not being a pantomime' cleverly brings the rebellious audience in on the joke (oh yes it does). I cannot think of a better panto alternative - Peter Pan Goes Wrong is one of those rare universal shows which will have children, grandparents, colleagues on a Christmas party night out laughing in equal measures.
I loved The Play That Goes Wrong, but think Peter Pan Goes Wrong is even better. As the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society are performing a story everybody knows there is extra room for comedy - they have a lot of fun with some of the characters (Tinkerbell and Nana the dog are particular highlights whilst Peter Pan's attempts to fly are hysterical). Lewis, Sayer and Shields's writing is truly masterful and, with productions of their shows opening globally, it seems the world is their oyster.
Director Adam Meggido has done a terrific job; whilst suitably disorderly, the production is unspeakably slick. There are some fantastically crafted segments, with the chaotic revolve sequence at the end of the show providing an almighty highlight - Simon Scullion's set design is very impressive. The pace rarely dips (and when it did I relished the opportunity to regain my breath), just when you think it can't get any more ridiculous... it does.
Lewis, Sayer and Shields perform in the show, starring alongside a company of comedic athletes. There is no weak link amongst them. With their third show The Comedy About A Bank Robbery set to open in the London next year, Mischief Theatre are heading for West End domination.
Peter Pan Goes Wrong is the number one show you must see this Christmas.
Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)
Peter Pan Goes Wrong runs at the Apollo Theatre until 31st January 2016.
Click here to book tickets.