Review | Laura Money
The crew from Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society are back with another evening of farce, slapstick, and hilarity in Peter Pan Goes Wrong. It takes the genius of The Play That Goes Wrong and ramps up the madcap antics to a whole new level, every single second of this play will elicit not just a few chuckles, but whole-body laughs that will rack the audience long after leaving the theatre!
I didn’t think it would be possible to top the previous work, yet here I am, gleefully corrected. Familiar jokes are heightened, yet still stand alone if you missed the first incarnation. The cast and ‘crew’ move about the audience in a pre-show that gets the laughter building from the beginning. Improv skills are on show here as the audience assist in the setting up of everything from electricity to set. The titular Peter, Jonathon (Darcy Brown) walks in late, coffee and dark glasses displaying his importance, Director Chris (Connor Crawford) and Co-Director Robert (Luke Joslin) argue audibly about the show, and the ‘crew’ inadvertently reveal the flaws in the set – of course these will come to a head in the third act.
The timing of Peter Pan Goes Wrong is as precise as clockwork – every element must fit into each other to create a chaotic effect. Of course, there is more to the title than just lights crashing to the stage and props going missing – there are broken bunk beds, quick costume changes that border on hilariously risque moments, stage fright and slip ups. Slapstick is this work’s strong suit – from broken flying wires, to broken legs, Joslin getting stuck in a doggy door, sound guy Trevor (Adam Dunn) forced to step in yet again, and of course, Robert’s accident prone niece Lucy (Teagan Wouters) encountering hilarious mishap after hilarious mishap, they just get it right. Part Some Mothers Do Ave Em, and part Mr Bean – it’s the perfect combination for laughter.
Once again, the funniest elements for me are the dramas from the actors – and this time, we see a lot more of that. Dennis (George Kemp) is still so useless at learning his lines they have resorted to feeding him his lines through headphones that are anything but discrete! This leads to some predictable, yet funny moments where wires get crossed, and Kemp is brilliant in his timing. After her flirtation with fame in the last production, Stage Manager Annie (Tammy Weller) multitasks as Mrs Darling, Eliza, Tinkerbell and probably a few more characters I missed, and her delivery is hilarious. From strange dance moves, to deadpan delivery, watching her onstage is a delight the entire time.
Peter Pan Goes Wrong is truly witty and incredibly clever. It hits you over the head with slapstick and tickles your cerebral cortex with hilarious group dynamics – a hilarious love triangle, over-acting from the pint-sized Sandra as Wendy (Francine Cain), and the accidental playing of audio that are hard to ignore. Not since The Play That Goes Wrong have I laughed from beginning to end – actually after the end (do yourself a favour and stay for the post show entertainment, I can guarantee a good laugh!) Poking fun at the pantomime genre, when adults play kids, and the politics present in Am Dram, but the actors are playing actors who can’t act – or think they are better than they are – and therein lies the genius.
If you want to see a flawless evening of hilarity, look no further than Peter Pan Goes Wrong. Every single element is brilliantly rendered and perfectly performed that it can be difficult to realise just how incredibly clever it really is. There are subtleties here – Robert falling down when the phrase ‘I don’t believe in fairies’ is uttered – and of course, hugely farcical moments – the entire set turning around like a side-slpittingly hilarious carousel. As I wrote about its predecessor: it’s a perfectly timed, perfectly executed, and perfectly performed masterpiece. You can only go right when you see Peter Pan Goes Wrong.
WHEN: 7 – 17 March 2019 | 8:00pm
WHERE: His Majesty’s Theatre | PERTH
INFO: Tickets $84.90 – $110.90 | Duration 110 mins including interval | Age recommendation: 6+ | Wheelchair accessible venue