What: Peter Pan Goes Wrong
Where: The Playhouse, The Arts Centre
Performances run until 27 January, 2019
For more information, please visit www.peterpangoeswrong.com.au
Perfectly ordered chaos is the best way to describe the two-hour slapstick spectacle that is Peter Pan Goes Wrong. Anyone lucky enough to catch The Play that Goes Wrong when it was performed at the Comedy Theatre in early 2017 will know what a frenetic, laugh out loud experience that was. The murder mystery spoof in which every conceivable line or stage direction went awry was manic farce at its best, so it’s fantastic to see that many of the same cast have re-teamed for a spiritual sequel of sorts to the earlier show – Peter Pan Goes Wrong.
Peter Pan Goes Wrong re-imagines J.M. Barrie’s classic tale as a ill-fated panto performed by the hapless The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society, replete with warring co-directors, audio blunders, collapsing sets, electrical mishaps and on-stage squabbles between the cast. The laughs start even before the curtain goes up, as during the pre-show, the play’s techies recruit the assistance of audience members to fix their wiring issues before the action kicks off.
More family friendly than the last show, but no less frenzied, Peter Pan Goes Wrong features seven cast members (Darcy Brown, Francine Cain, Adam Dunn, Luke Joslin, George Kemp, Jordan Prosser and Tammy Weller) who were part of the previous show, making for some nice continuity between the shows. But there are also some accomplished newcomers joining this one as well – in the form of the renowned Jay Laga’aia, Connor Crawford and Teagan Wouters.
Laga’aia is hilarious as the show’s narrator, having several run-ins with an out of control automated chair that thrusts him on and off stage. But the rest of the cast is equally as good, in what must be an incredibly difficult play to appear in from a purely technical standout.
Brown is a hoot as the decidedly unheroic Peter, Cain is full of over-the-top gesticulations as Wendy Darling and George Kemp is hilarious in the role of John Darling, with one of the show’s best running gags involving him being fed lines via a set of headphones, with expected chaotic results.
Connor Crawford is a wonderfully combative Captain Hook, with his rants at the audience providing some of the show’s biggest laughs, and Tammy Weller also deserves special mention for the quick change act she must conduct early on in the show as she swaps between the roles of Mrs Darling and maid Liza.
An inspired underwater scene with glow-in-the-dark sea creatures and a trio of brilliant musical numbers help to differentiate this from the earlier play and give Peter Pan its own unique flavour, with one of the show’s musical interludes arguably the high point, with the cast’s spirited sing-a-long playing second fiddle to an out of control rotating stage that refuses to stop spinning.
While humour is subjective and slapstick is certainly not to everyone’s taste, but as someone who grew up on the likes of Fawlty Towers, The Goodies and many other classic British comedy series, this lovably old-fashioned brand of humour is a welcome throwback. The level of audience participation and infectious communal laughter this play inspires is truly amazing, and seeing it live really is a theatrical experience like none other.
Playing in Melbourne until January 27, and then touring the rest of the country throughout 2019 – Peter Pan Goes Wrong, despite a couple of brief risque moments, is perfect summer holiday entertainment, and again proves that everything Wrong is very, very right.
Peter Pan Goes Wrong is playing at the following venues:
Venue: Arts Centre Melbourne, The Playhouse, until January 27
Venue: Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University
Dates & Times: 30 January – 3 February 2019
Venue: Canberra Theatre
Dates & Times: 6 – 10 February 2019
Venue: Sydney Lyric
Dates & Times: From 13 February 2019
Venue: His Majesty’s Theatre
Dates & Times: 7 – 17 March 2019
For more information and bookings, please visit www.peterpangoeswrong.com.au