It’s very rare that people ever take Phil’s advice. But after visiting Peter Pan Goes Wrong last year he declared grandly, “If Mischief Theatre don’t revive this every Christmas then something really has gone wrong.”
Rather unusually someone must have been awake, for here it is, inflicting itself on the same theatre for the seasonal period. Same show, new cast and still as energetically mad as a President-elect hairdo. Phew.
Phil feared that without the original team – who are busily chancing injury in The Comedy About A Bank Robbery – it might have lost some of it’s zing.
Phil shouldn’t have worried. It’s as crisp as a polymer fiver. The new cast are as manic and appealing as previously as they set about playing members of Cornley Poly dramatic society putting on a disastrous production of Peter Pan.
Writers Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields must be laughing all the way to the bank robbery. Mischief currently have 3 productions in the West End and no sign of abating. The Play That Goes Wrong has gone global and on a UK tour and this show has been filmed (with the original cast) for transmission at Christmas. How the live experience translates to TV remains to be seen, as some of Phil’s favourite moments were the bits of audience interaction where Captain Hook (Harry Kershaw) desperately tries to stop panto shout outs and when he struggles to open a bottle of poison (it’s a hook thing) enlisting the front row for assistance.
Adam Meggido‘s production ensures chaos from the off, from the Darling family nursery that makes Aleppo seem a safer option to the see-saw pirate galleon. Doors get stuck, lighting collapses or fails completely, beds concertina and Pan (Daniel Pitout) crashes about on wires taking the shaky scenery with him. Stage hands wander on to attempt to put things right with limited success.
Some jokes are cheekily and relentlessly over-egged to beyond breaking point: others take you by surprise by their brilliant daftness.
It’s unfair to pick out individual cast members but when we we ever fair? Phil was particularly impressed by Pitout, Kershaw, Oliver Senton, Sydney Smith, Adeline Waby and especially Matt Cavendish as he had to fill the roles (Michael Darling and the crocodile) previously inhabited by Phil’s personal Play That favourite Dave Hearn.
If the thought of Donald and Malaria Trump infecting the White House is a joke that’s gone too far, this will be just what you need. At least this madness is carefully controlled by people who appear to know exactly what they’re doing.
We were at the gala opening. Andrew grumped that it was “not much of a gala without Su Pollard“. At the interval we found ourselves standing next to her in the theatre bar. He had no idea. What are the chances?
The Rating That Goes Wrong