Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Peter Pan Goes Wrong @ The REP, Tuesday 27th January 2015

Laurence Pears as Captain Hook in Peter Pan Goes Wrong. Photo by Alastair Muir

If you’re the kind of person who heads straight for the ‘bloopers’ feature on a DVD or who prefers watching It’ll Be Alright On The Night to a night on the town then this production is pretty much perfect...or maybe that should be imperfect. Yes, rather than striving to avoid fluffed lines and failing sets Peter Pan Goes Wrong positively embraces them, revelling in the glorious chaos that results.
‘Performed’ by the fictional Cornley Polytechnic Dramatic Society (actually the appropriately titled Mischief Theatre, creators of the West End hit The Play That Goes Wrong) as the title implies the show revolves around a performance of the J M Barrie classic Peter Pan that goes wrong. Very wrong. In fact short of the entire stage collapsing into the bowels of the building it’s difficult to imagine how you could cram more misfortune into two hilarious hours. If you’ve ever been involved in any kind of amateur dramatics some moments may be painfully familiar, bits of set collapsing, stick on facial hair coming adrift, sound effects getting mixed up, one of the cast setting themselves on fire...okay maybe the last one’s a little more unusual but I guess it happens.

James Marlowe as Bill Jukes, Naomi Sheldon as Tiger Lily, Cornelius Booth as Starkey and
Harry Kershaw as Mr Smee in Peter Pan Goes Wrong

It’s all rather brilliantly choreographed but you can’t help but imagine that the entire cast and crew must be carrying the odd bruise or six. Not since the days of silent films has so much slapstick been crammed into one show and the writers/producers have wrung as much comedy gold from the actors and set as possible ensuring that the action’peters’ out from start to finish. This is one of those rare shows where every performance is a stand out but Cornelius Booth deserves a special mention his portrayal of the oldest Darling child in history, as does Naomi Sheldon for a particularly frantic performance as ...deep breath...Mary Darling, Lisa, Tinker Bell and Cecco. At the heart of it all is Laurence Pears who manfully tries to keep the show going, gradually losing his last threads of sanity along the way. Leonie Hill mines her inner Kate Bush for all she’s worth too and she barely takes a step without adding some fabulously OTT flourish of the limbs.
In short it’s a wonderful concept for a show, brilliantly executed and if you’re in need of a laugh, a proper laugh that is, a laugh that threatens to polish you off at times, Peter Pan Goes Wrong is just so right.
Peter Pan Goes Wrong is on at The REP until Sunday February 1st.
Tockets...whoops...see, it’s contagious...ahem...TICKETS here.

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