Review: Peter Pan at the Marlowe Theatre

Review: Peter Pan at the Marlowe Theatre

A ramshackle set, injured cast members and hammy, wooden acting; you’d be forgiven for thinking that this latest offering from Mischief Theatre Company had a rather unsuccessful opening night at the Marlowe Theatre. But this it was far from it.

In the style of the hugely successful The Play That Goes Wrong, this extraordinary work welcomes the audience back to the fictional world of the unfortunate ‘Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’, whose cringeworthy over-exuberance and lack of camaraderie react with one technical malfunction after another, with hilariously explosive results. Chris Bean (Laurence Pears) greets us with the thespian pomposity expected of an am-dram ‘dactor’ on the opening night of this year’s production: J.M. Barrie’s famous Peter Pan.

What ensues is a full-length farce of delightful proportions, mixing soap-opera personal drama with perfectly-timed slapstick worthy of John Cleese and Rowan Atkinson. Underpinning the horseplay of this ingenious, multi-layered ‘vignette’ is a real cast whose tireless complicité and mastery of various comic styles is plain to see.

Poor Max (Matt Cavendish) plays to the audience perfectly and garners a host of sympathy for his unrequited love for Sandra (Leonie Hill), playing Wendy, who only has eyes for Alex Bartram’s Peter Pan. More and more gossip about the cast is unwittingly revealed through a series of amusingly awkward sound tech errors and a rotating stage with a mind of its own.

From start to finish the gags flow relentlessly and are tempered by the captivating ensemble of larger-than-life characters. Peter Pan Goes Wrong is tireless, raucous fun and maintains the high bar that we have come to expect from this talented young company. Catch it while it’s here or as it continues on its national tour; experiencing it for yourself will be an awfully big adventure.

Peter Pan Goes Wrong is at the Marlowe Theatre until Saturday 17th January 2015

 

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