Peter Pan Goes Wrong at the Apollo Theatre
It is that time of year again. Christmas is fast approaching and with it a stream of non-professional pantomimes. Mischief Theatre preempts the torturous season of failed amateur dramatics with a meta-theatrical hit that laughs at its own incompetency, in a series of splendid concussions and collisions in which almost everything goes wrong. The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society eagerly attempts to deliver a perfect performance of J M Barrie’s classic. In reality, there are anarchic set collapses, costume mishaps and behind the scenes and onstage drama all hurtling into a hilarious and disastrous farce.
It is slapstick catastrophe that engages with the theatregoers’ love of onstage and backstage antics. There is audience interaction throughout; the most humorous is in the form of Captain Hook chastising them for engaging in the roles of a pantomime. “He’s behind you,” scream the spectators as he searches for Peter Pan. “Just let me find him would you,” he retorts. This exemplifies how the play is both humorously formulaic and subverts humorous formulas. Hook’s rejection of the customs of a pantomime is far more hilarious than if he had gone along with them.
Anarchy is everywhere: Nana becomes trapped in the dog flap; Peter flies into the scenery and is often upside down; the Darling children’s bunk beds collapse into each other; Mrs Darling’s costume changes frequently leave her exposed in her underwear. The set is often sent spinning around without any means of stopping it, with the three different scenes being exposed to the audience when the actors do not realise they are on stage. An exciting medium for exposing the backstage drama to the audience.
The acting is over the top but in keeping with the amateur actor personas. Bailey Patrick is hilarious as the most incompetent health and safety crew member. Laurence Pierce’s exaggerated theatricality is impossible not to laugh at while Harry Kershaw is excellent as Mr Darling and Captain Hook.
This is a perfect family play for the Christmas season; it is harmless fun that will offer an amusing evening even to the Humbugs in the audience.
Photos: Alistair Muir
Peter Pan Goes Wrong is at the Apollo Theatre from 20th October 2016 until 29th January 2017. Book your tickets here.
Watch the trailer for Peter Pan Goes Wrong here: