Thursday, 16 January 2020

REVIEW: Peter Pan Goes Wrong at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking

Mischief Theatre are slowly, but surely, taking over the world - one theatrical casualty at a time! Starting off as a Fringe concept, and now resident at THREE West End theatres, one current UK Tour, another upcoming UK Tour and a BBC One television show, it’s safe to say this team of mischief makers are growing with each year and becoming all the more popular along the way. 

Peter Pan Goes Wrong was also filmed for the BBC in 2016, but there is nothing like live theatre and the insanity of this show must be seen in person to be believed. The technical skill showcased throughout this production is truly remarkable and with a cast as strong as this, you’re guaranteed a stellar night out of fun for all the family to enjoy. 

Peter Pan Goes Wrong was resident in the West End over the Christmas seasons of 2015 and 2016 however, as “director” Chris Bean reminds us many times throughout the show, it is absolutely 100% definitely not under any circumstances a pantomime. (Oh yes it is.) 

The show is based around the concept we are in fact an audience there to see Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’s Christmas production of Peter Pan, so it’s an inception of wonderful actors, playing appalling actors; a seemingly simple concept but my goodness, it gets complicated when reading the programme and you’re trying to work out who’s who! 

Long before the official start of the show, the auditorium is filled with “stage crew” pulling wires and ropes across the seats and involving the audience in the thick of the chaos of a pre-show rush. Ava Pickett made her debut in the role of “Trevor Watson - Stage Manager” as an emergency understudy and commanded the role remarkably well considering she’d never played the part before. Audiences will know the “Stage Crew” in Mischief’s shows never stay behind the scenes for long!

Even with all my fond memories from my trip to the Apollo Theatre in 2016 to see this show, I was still surprised and gripped throughout and laughed until my ribcage hurt. Oliver Senton as Robert Grove rendered me breathless from laughter with his wonderful portrayal of the Assistant Director, particularly in his efforts as “Starkey The Pirate” whose accent may just be my highlight of any Mischief show I’ve seen. Incomprehensible dialogue has never been so funny. 

Katy Daghorn’s “Sandra” (in this production playing Wendy Darling) had me belly-laughing from her very first appearance alongside her “brothers” played by Fred Gray and Romayne Andrews - “Max (as Michael Darling)” and “Dennis (as John Darling)” respectively. Dennis was my favourite character from years ago and this production reminded me exactly why. Audience favourite “Max” wins hearts and adds a lovely layer of depth to this show which cuts through the madness of slapstick beautifully. Similarly, “Lucy (as Tootles, The Lost Boy)” played by Georgia Bradley brings heart to the show and grounds the story, despite the chronic stage-fright “she” suffers!

This production is pure madness. It’s a chaotic cacophony of comedy which lit the audience alight and allowed us all to burn for the duration. It wasn’t perfect, not just in the literal sense of the concept of the show either but I can forgive its flaws as it was just THAT funny.

I implore you to see this show live - it may well be the most fun you have all year. 

Review by Harriet Langdown

Rating: ★★★★

Seat: G2, Stalls | Price of Ticket: £40.90 (Plus Booking Fee, Via ATG)

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