Tuesday, May 28

Peter Pan Goes Wrong – Wolverhampton Grand

Exploding both literally and figuratively on the stage at the Grand last night, “Peter Pan Goes Wrong” follows in the confident footsteps of its predecessor Broadway-smash, “The Play That Goes Wrong”. Riddled with Mischief theatre’s trademark mania, chaos and panto-like pandemonium from the off and a litany of misfires, missed cues, mistakes and madness – the evening provides a string of cracking sight gags and slapstick. Whereas their predecessor opted for a murder mystery to parody here we have the well know family story which, much to the actor’s distress, the audience seem to think is a panto. The joy of Mischief theatre is the dedicated attention to detail, gags woven so adeptly into the script with many callbacks to previous set-ups making for a fantastically joyous evening with no agenda other than to simply entertain.

The conceit is they are an amateur dramatic company, whom you might have thought after their last disaster may have given up completely, but bravely they take on Pan and unlike Peter it doesn’t quite get off the ground. Against all odds they continue to hack their way through the play encountering disaster after disaster with hilarious consequences. Now plays going wrong have been the stuff of comedy for years. From Shakespeare’s mechanicals to Michael Green to “Noises Off” and each and every one realising it is simply one joke offered in many and varied ways – the play goes wrong when it should go right. Mischief theatre provide us with so many varied and differing versions of that one joke it’s hard not to admire their sheer tenacity and dedication.

The show doesn’t feature the original cast, but their replacements are more than up to the knockabout task – and there is a lot of knockabout with which they are tasked! Notably Theo Toksvig-Stewart endearingly playing Max playing Michael with a deft skill for visual comedy and spot on timing as the crocodile (“Snap, snap, snap!”). Ciara Morris as Sandy as Wendy is a delightful am-dram parody. Also, Clark Devlin as Dennis as John whose inability to learn lines sees him lumbered with a set of headphones which rarely offer him the correct dialogue and Jack Michael Stacey as Chris as Mr. Darling and Captain Hook whose increasing frustration with the actors, the production and, finally, the audience climaxes in Act Two with a vibrantly hilarious semi-ad-lib sequence as he tries to get the top of a bottle of poison.

The play’s ending is a glorious tour de farce of energetic madness and technical expertise. And what a delight to see the real technical crew (not the actors being technicians) come to take a bow. Also, worth noting how family friendly is was with many children in the audience enjoying the show as much as their parents. It’s all well worth a trip hazard to Neverland!

An Awfully Mad Adventure…

Reviewer: Peter Kinnock

Reviewed: 30th October 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.