Peter Pan Goes Wrong

Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields
Kenny Wax Ltd and Stage Presence Ltd present the Mischief Production
Sheffield Lyceum

Listing details and ticket info...

The cast of Peter Pan Goes Wrong Credit: Pamela Wraith
Jonathan Harris in the title role of Peter Pan Goes Wrong Credit: Pamela Wraith
Chris Beam as Captain Hook in Peter Pan Goes Wrong Credit: Pamela Wraith

Mischief Theatre was formed in 2008 by a group of ex-LAMDA students who enjoyed comedy and came up with the startling idea of writing and presenting plays in which everything goes wrong.

Peter Pan is a perfect subject for this treatment, a well-known story with familiar characters and events, full of exciting and potentially disastrous action and the hazards of staging flight.

Writers Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields offer a script which covers every eventuality and provides a starting point for endlessly inventive direction by Adam Meggido: comic business, collapsing sets, whisked off costumes, problems with technical effects, all of which augmented by an energetic and talented cast.

In effect, we are seeing a play within a play. The play being performed by the Cornley (corny) Polytechnic Drama Society is directed by Society President Chris Bean, who also plays Mr Darling and Captain Hook. Two rather good parts.

Almost everyone in the play has at least two parts. Robert Grove as Nana the Dog gets stuck in a cat-flap, and later appears as the growling, incomprehensible pirate Starkey who can't escape from a small boat. Annie Twilloil, who plays four parts, is revealed half undressed when she attempts a rapid costume change from Tinkerbell to Mrs Darling.

A special accolade must go to Francis Beaumont as Narrator who links the story with perfect clarity despite the major inconvenience he experiences when the stage manager wheels him off without looking. Beaumont also fills a ‘words forgotten’ pause in the action with a raucous song and dance routine which is naughty but nice.

The technical aspects of the production are notable. As Peter Pan, Jonathan Harris has to survive flying when he has no control over what he's doing and is more often upside down than the right way up. Great skill from the technical stage managers achieves this.

The first half set is completely destroyed when Peter tries to teach Wendy (Sandra Wilkinson) and her two brothers (Dennis Tyde and Max Bennett) to fly. But in the interval, this is replaced by a complex revolving set which represents three separate locations and provides an ideal context for comic chases with pirates in hot pursuit.

The remarkable thing about this production is that there is hardly a moment when there is not something to laugh at. Comic business is extended beyond the bounds of possibility, and interaction with the audience is excellent.

Chris Bean as Mr Darling and Captain Hook is particularly skilled at controlling and eliciting responses from a young audience who jumped at any opportunity to throw in "oh no, you can't" to win an "oh yes, I can." But he has a wider range of techniques to challenge or respond to adult interventions. All very entertaining.

It is not unlikely that, among the large audience, there were a number of people who have taken part in amateur dramatics and experienced the kind of the minor disasters parodied in this show. For all, an evening of excellent humour, vigorously performed by a talented group of professional performers.

Reviewer: Velda Harris

*Some links, including Amazon,,, ATG Tickets, LOVEtheatre, BTG Tickets, Ticketmaster, LW Theatres and QuayTickets, are affiliate links for which BTG may earn a small fee at no extra cost to the purchaser.

Are you sure?