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Review - Peter Pan Goes Wrong: two hours of breathtaking laughter

Life on a rolling ship

Peter Pan Goes Wrong

By Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields adapted from J.M. Barry’s novel

Directed by Chris Bean

Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, Kenny Wax Ltd and Stage Presence in Association with David Atkins Enterprises, ABA and the mischief Company

Queensland Conservatorium Theatre

South Bank


Season: until February 3. Bookings: Qtix 136 246. Duration: 2 hours including interval.

Well, Peter Pan certainly did go wrong and never has so wrong been so right. It all added up to two hours of breathtaking laughter, madcap physical clowning and unbelievably good comic timing. With a cast of 12 ( I think), numerous sets on a fast moving revolve and costume changes galore – Annie Twilloil played four roles, some of them in the same scene – it was utter mayhem, especially Act Two on Captain Hook’s ship and an underwater scene that was so bad that it brought tears of laughter to the eyes.

This is the second production from the “Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society” I have seen, the first was The Play That Goes Wrong. This was also an hilarious production, but focussed mainly on props falling down around the actors. Peter Pan was more sophisticated and the comedy more diverse and character based.

It was technically brilliant with interruptions from open mics back stage which left the actors speechless with amazing work in pauses, which were timed to the split second for laughs.

The fun started as the audience entered with the “stage crew” wandering around looking for tools while harassing a willing clientele and continued non-stop. There was never a laughter free second as a brilliant cast wowed the house with its frantic comedy.

The director, Chris Bean was in the action almost permanently. He introduced the show, played a prat-falling George Darling and a Basil Fawlty of a Captain Hook, who often took umbrage with the audience as they were urged to turn the play into a pantomime. There was a fair bit of frolic with the audience.

Annie Twilloil’s quad roles included a fussy Mary Darling and the maid Lisa at the Darling home and then and electrically lit Tinkerbelle and captive Tiger Lily.’

Jonathan Harris played an accident prone Peter Pan with some very brave aerial manoeuvres (look out for his equally brave understudy). One of my favourite was Dennis Tyde who played John Darling and Mr Smee the pirate, all the time wearing a head set to someone who fed him his lines. His panic when working without his headset was a special highlight in a night filled with highlight. Max Bennett also had me laughing in his dual roles Michael Darling and the unloved Crocodile.

The best professional overacting of the night came from Sandra Wilkinson as the ever-eager-to-please Wendy Darling while Robert Grove milked it as Nana the dog and Starkey the mumbling pirate. Slapstick was his game. To add to the fun Lucy Grove spent most of her time in the role of lost boy Tootles in a wheel chair after a set "malfunction!"

To top, if off Jay Laga’aia took the very movable chair as the narrator – it’s not really a spoiler but yes he does sing he Playschool song.

It’s on for such a short season, but it is well worth booking for a funny night out. I had a ball.

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