Peter Pan Goes Wrong is at The Festival Theatre Edinburgh this week (Tuesday 11th to Sunday 16th February) making a return to the Edinburgh stage (2015 production) and obviously the show has lost none of its appeal with the audience.
Peter Pan Goes Wrong is a play by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields of the Mischief Theatre Company, and this format of mischief, well timed chaos and comedy farce has allowed the other productions such as “The Play That Goes Wrong” and “The Comedy About A Bank Robbery” to be theatrical successes too.
As the members of the Cornley Polytechnic Drama return to the Edinburgh stage, the art of making the planned to the second mishaps look like natural accidents once again hides beneath the surface just how much pre-production planning must go into these shows.
The format of any Mischief Theatre production is at times a little bit predictable, but they do it so well and pull it off with such style and timing. This is not a show for anyone on stage, or behind the unseen chaos, to be out at all with their prop timing, and in this case, fly by wire timing, and all we as the audience have to do is just sit back in our seats, watch and laugh, well that is if Captain Hook allows it.
Like all other “Mischief” productions, most of the cast play multiple roles here, so easiest not to list them as that will only add to the confusion of who is who. Because of course, adding to even more confusion, the cast list in the programme and the parts that they play are actually the names and parts that our imaginary Cornley Polytechnic Drama team play. Don’t worry though, the real names of our “Mischief” theatre cast are all on their website.
This is very much a family show with at best a little mild innuendo, and that is getting a rare thing these days too. Expect, however, some old fashioned vaudeville and silent comedy film visual gags and a clever script. Yes, some of the visual gags are at times used too often and can get a little repetitive, and some of the dialogue could be trimmed out, or sharpened up a bit in places, but these are minor points.
On a big plus point, it had been a very bad weather day in Edinburgh, and outside the theatre was still very cold. Inside the theatre though it was warm with an audience enjoying every “wrong moment” of this show. Sometimes just having a laugh at the theatre and forgetting any problems that you might have for a few hours is a perfect tonic for everyone, so job done here. It is easy to see why this formula has allowed “Mischief” to develop into a company performing in over 35 countries so far.
Is this production a parody show or a pantomime though? Well that of course depends on the audience’s reactions to some well-timed scripted lines and tonight, the audience, when required, were playing their parts well too. Cornley Polytechnic Drama’s director and assistant director will I think be arguing about this though long after the final curtain has come down on this show.
Review by Tom King