This originally appeared on London Theatre Direct on 7 November 2016
I’ve been a fan of The Mischief Theatre Company since seeing The Play That Goes Wrong back in January 2016. I don’t count myself as a lover of farce but it is so skilled and at times mesmerising to watch it go wrong that you need a heart of stone not to fall for this talented cast. It takes incredible talent to be in a Mischeif Theatre show.
Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society are presenting their production of Peter Pan. Chris the director (the incredible Harry Kershaw, who was in the same role in The Play That Goes Wrong) is now joined by an assistant (or co-director) Robert (Oliver Senton). They have an elaborate new set thanks to cast member Max’s (Matt Cavendish) generous uncle. All the characters are fantastic and I don’t think I can focus on them all. I particularly loved Bailey Patrick’s Trevor and Sydney Smith as terrible actor Dennis, who has his lines fed to him. It becomes less about Peter Pan and more about this motley crew who have been allowed access to a theatre, despite their incompetence as performers.
There’s a real sense of fun and for me has signalled the start of Christmas theatre season. It doesn’t lose anything in the Peter Pan story but also seamlessly adds in the Cornley’s own woes. It is silly, it is accessible and it is extraordinarily clever. It is definitely a production for those whose first language may not be English though it isn’t all farce, there’s a storyline involving the character’s personal lives and make sure you get there early for the full experience. This is one of the things that is staggering, that it never gives up in its energy and leaves you wanting more.
Whilst aimed at all ages this feels like a show you can take your nan as well as your nephew. There’s some more adult jokes in there but nothing too shocking and ultimately it is a show for people who like to laugh and for the curious to marvel about the stunts.
The production will be on the BBC this Christmas but I would recommend the live experience first, seeing the falls, the failures and the comedy in a live setting is something not worth missing out and if you get the chance to catch their other productions, The Play That Goes Wrong and Peter Pan Goes Wrong then I cannot recommend them enough.