Touring – reviewed at New Victoria Theatre, Woking
The masters of laughter, Mischief Theatre are back at it again with a gut wrenchingly funny touring version of Peter Pan Goes Wrong, which takes everything theatrical and jumbles it into a mess of impassioned, choreographed mayhem.
The Goes Wrong franchise has achieved an astounding amount of success. From a Fringe company, they have taken over the West End, with new productions regularly being released and a series recently beginning on BBC1. Their timeless form of physical comedy, provides excellent entertainment, as well as a celebration of the intricacies of theatre.
Previously televised, this raucous version of Peter Pan, performed by the most bumbling amateur dramatic group ever, is as amusing as ever as it journeys around the UK. It’s slapstick of course, but more than that, it is a precisely executed piece of theatre, full of well thought-out characters and exuberant joy. From the pre-show that audience are involved in the mayhem and it’s quite excellent how the cast are able to mould us to laugh both at and with them.
During the show, there are missed cues, comedy falls, props malfunctioning, wires crossing and many, many casualties. Mischief Theatre wonderfully balance physical and visual gags, and never cross the line of overdoing their jokes. That’s not to say all the gags are highly original, but they’re pulled off so seamlessly that this farce is almost comedic perfection.
This performance was a real testament to understudies, as they really saved the day for the show. Amongst the host of theatrical parodies are Katy Daghorn as Wendy who boastfully struts around the stage and gives a completely stellar performance. Chris, the grandiose director who also plays Hook and Mr Darling, is expertly portrayed by Tom Babbage who bounces back and forth with the audience as he insists the show is not a pantomime. Stepping in as Trevor, Ava Pickett is a complete joy to watch and Christian James’ Peter is likeable and dynamic as he dizzily flies around the stage.
This is clearly a physically demanding piece of theatre, which is expertly performed by the entire cast, of which there are zero weak links. A genuinely entertaining show, this is a definite family pleaser and a great night out at the theatre. The company may get everything wrong, but in the end it all seems so right.
Peter Pan Goes Wrong runs at the New Victoria Theatre until 18th January before continuing its tour
photo credit: Alistair Muir