Theatre

Peter Pan Goes Wrong at Theatre Royal Bath

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Posted on 17th February 2015

Peter Pan Goes Wrong

Theatre Royal Bath

16 February 2015 

It’s not a pantomime insist the players at regular intervals. Oh yes it is, responds the audience each time, well versed in such cues. And Captain Hook is firmly in the role of panto villain despite his roars of “Don’t laugh at me!” which serve only to elicit more hisses, boos and laughter.

Whatever it is – panto or traditional story – Peter Pan Goes Wrong is a hoot, a giggling, gleeful slapstick comedy that features every trick in the box. It’s physical theatre that owes more than a nod to Buster Keaton, and rattles along at a death-defying pace that relies on daredevil acrobatics and split-second timing.

And it’s hilariously ridiculous. You see the gags coming – there are frequent repeats – and you laugh all the more because you’re in on the joke.

Mischief Theatre, whose show this is, has rewritten JM Barrie’s much-loved classic for its own Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society, a fictitious crew who previously visited Bath last year with The Play That Goes Wrong. That play enjoyed a sell-out UK tour and a London West End transfer, winning Mischief the Whatsonstage Award for Best New Comedy 2014.

Now, directed by Adam Meggido, they company has used the award-winning formula to create an accident-prone trip to Neverland with predictably disastrous consequences.

Far from being the boy who never grew up, Peter Pan is a womanising aerial bounder who two-times Tinker Bell and Wendy, props fall, injuries abound, Captain Hook doesn’t know which hand his hook should be on, and the stage crew is forever on stage when it shouldn’t be.

Then there’s Max, playing the crocodile that nobody likes, the actor who’s there because his father is financing Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’s production – only everyone in the audience does like Max. He has the aaaah! factor in buckets, just like Captain Hook has the boo! factor. And Max gets the girl because, although he doesn’t know what a Real Kiss is, he knows what True Love is.

The show is wonderful – you’re almost too busy laughing to appreciate the technical and comic brilliance of the ensemble, while the kids in the audience just fall about because it’s silly.

The end is especially brilliant, a mad Magic Roundabout rollercoaster on speed, as the stage revolves showing what should be on stage (pirates), what’s happening off stage and shouldn’t be (mayhem, women fighting over Peter Pan), and a riotous amalgam of the two.

This is terrific half-term fun at it’s best and suitable for a variety of ages. Just go and see it.

Peter Pan Goes Wrong is playing until Saturday 21 February. Times and tickets are available from the Theatre Royal box office on 01225 448844 or online at www.theatreroyal.org

Jackie Chappell

 

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