Every so often, something will go wrong in a stage show or musical, like a piece of costume falls off, or the audio effects aren’t entirely synched up properly. Peter Pan Goes Wrong takes this premise and makes it the entire basis for the show, resulting in a production full of hilarious catastrophe, designed to look wrong on purpose. A follow up to The Play that Goes Wrong, this production focused around an amateur theatre group putting on their annual Christmas show, thus, at some points in the show, actors are playing actors playing characters, as well as actors playing stage managers and lighting operators. The audience even has a role to play, acting as the audience for the amateur show, sometimes even entering into the world of pantomime and communicating with the actors on stage. To establish this initially, the actors playing stage hands, directors and actors ventured out onto the stage and into the audience before the show started, in the guise of setting up their amateur show, interacting with audience members by signing autographs, passing around extension cables and inquiring into the location of a hammer. This was very effective in creating a sense of immersion, and set up the audience well for the rest of the show.
The cast themselves were excellent, and every single one stood out in their own way. A special commendation goes to Tammy Weller’s manic costume changes and Francine Cain’s spoof of a stereotypical first year Musical Theatre student, which, being a performing arts student myself, was exceptionally relatable. Fans of Play School and/or Star Wars will be delighted to see Jay Laga’aia in the role of Francis, an ex-magician playing the narrator and a miscellaneous pirate, bringing a fourth wall-breaking musical nod to one of his earlier roles at one point in the show.
The sets and props were fantastic, designed to fail and go wrong in exactly the right way. There were moments these failures were executed in such a way to make the audience scream in alarm due to their realistic nature. Of particular note was the action scene based around the rotary set which required an excellent amount of precision and timing for supposedly random disasters, for which I applaud the set and technical designers, as well as the stage crew for managing it all.
This production, in my opinion, is a must see for those who enjoy comedy, especially slapstick and pantomime, as it is a delightful and well executed spoof on a genre we’ve seen performed countless times, in a way that is charming and hilarious. Peter Pan Goes Wrong gets everything right, 5 out of 5 stars.
Words by Cate Tweedie
Cate Tweedie studies Classical Voice and apologises to theatre patrons for her terrible laugh