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Peter Pan Goes Wrong - Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

Wanna laugh? I mean a proper laugh at ridiculous situations? Proper silliness of the highest order? Well, get yourselves down to Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury for the funniest show I have seen in years. Peter Pan Goes Wrong is everything you have grown to expect from the Mischief team.

Mischief, have been causing mayhem for more than a decade now. Their success started with The Play That Goes Wrong, which has now been seen by over 3.5 million people, in over 30 countries. They’ve also had huge success with The Comedy About a Bank Robbery, Magic Goes Wrong, two series of The Goes Wrong Show on TV.

Peter Pan Goes Wrong, is where the hopeless Cornley Drama Society attempt - and hilariously fail - to stage a production of J.M. Barrie’s classic. The genius of Peter Pan Goes Wrong is that you already know the story of Peter Pan. I’m already a fan of the ‘goes wrong’ shows and this is no exception. My top tip is get to your seat early to see the cast trying to set up the stage and involving some members of the public. It’s very improv. I saw ‘Chris’ the Cornley director bow down at the mayor last night. You just have to be there to witness such brilliance.

The story of Peter Pan is the one we all know. It’s about the Darling family and how Wendy, John and Michael meet Peter Pan who teaches them to fly and invites them to Neverland. Even before they get to Neverland, I am crying with laughter at the first scene. Simple things like Mr Darling trying to hang his coat on the door and of course its not a real hook, just a painted on one and how with one stitch Wendy has sewn back Peter’s shadow. But things spiral; Nana, the dog gets stuck in the cat flap (should we call it a dog flap?), lights fall off the walls and one of the cast members has their arm on fire. This is just the start!

The cast are exceptional. It’s difficult enough to get timing right for comedy, but to do it when things are going wrong is crucial. There were times that I winced and wondered if the cast really hurt themselves. And to be careful of falling props and scenery – it must be a health and safety nightmare. As I said, each member of the cast are truly exceptional. I enjoyed that Mrs Darling was also the maid and Tinkerbell. Oh, my memories of a small production when I played more than one role...maybe that is why I really appreciate the efforts of the cast. The quick changes are as quick as they possibly could be but as things are going wrong we do see ‘Annie’ getting changed into the other roles. How I loved that Captain Hook had to improvise with his crew on props. A rolled up Six programme was where his gun should be so it became a ‘six shooter’ – genius! I also loved how Hook gets a member of the audience to help him open the poison bottle and then blame them for trying to kill Peter. The lagoon scene was actually quite beautiful and well done – until something goes wrong and the lights come on. Its all just so funny. I honestly cannot tell you how loudly I laughed but my fellow press colleagues did comment on it in the interval. There is no faking my laugh. I loved loved loved this show.

If you are looking for an awfully big adventure with some silliness thrown in, this is exactly what you need and laughing is good for your health.

Peter Pan Goes Wrong is at Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury until Sunday 8 October 2023


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