BWW REVIEW: Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society's Comic Chaos Strikes Again With PETER PAN GOES WRONG
Sunday 17 February 2019, 5pm, Lyric Theatre
Following on from successful London seasons, the Australian production of PETER PAN GOES WRONG, the encore to THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG arrives in Sydney on it's Australian tour. Packed full of laughs and insane accidents, this is an evening of easy entertainment as J.M Barrie's classic tale is given the ProAm treatment by the most hapless theatre company in England.
The brains behind THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG, Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields have delivered another cracker of a comic night as they bring the fictitious Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society back to present a "Christmas Vignette" of the boy who never grew up. Drawing on the English tradition of Christmas Pantomimes with a well-known story leads to a show that can have even more prat falls and mishaps as the audience doesn't need to think too hard about the plot. Resident Director Luke Joslin recreates Adam Meggido's original production which sees Cornley Polytechnic take on bigger and bolder production values with more moving parts, audience interaction and even more battering of the performers.
As with the original production, PETER PAN GOES WRONG is an homage to all the high school productions, community theatre plays and ambitious amateur theatrical endeavors that many audiences would have sat through, or participated in over the years. Many of THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG cast return to reprise their roles as the members of Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society. As well as directing, Joslin also reprises his presentation of Cornley's Co Director Robert who in turn takes on the dual roles of the Darling's faithful dog Nana and pirate Starkey. Adam Dunn returns as stage manager Trevor who along with Matt Whitty's Lincoln (assistant stage manager)and Jessie Yates' Grace(assistant stage manager) try to save the show from power surges, falling scenery and general disaster. George Kemp returns as the forgetful Dennis who's smaller stature has him playing John Darling and Mr Smee. Darcy Brown brings back company playboy and leading man Jonathan who uses his turn as Peter Pan to boost his 'pulling power'. Tammy Weller also reprises the role of Annie, the woman who covers pretty much all of the minor female characters from Mary Darling, housekeeper Lisa, Tinkerbell and Tiger Lily. Francine Cain, who was alternate for Sandra in THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG steps back into the diva's shoes as Sandra plays Wendy Darling with a strong nod to daytime soapopera dramaqueens. Newcomers include Connor Crawford as Chris, the president of the Drama Society, Director of the play within the play and Captain Hook. Jordan Prosser takes on the role of Max, the nephew of the Drama Society's benefactor who has the dual roles of Michael Darling and The Crocodile, complete with mechanics trolley. Children's TV favourite Jay Laga'aia joins the company as Francis, who takes on the role of Narrator and pirate Cecco. Teagan Wouters also joins as the stage fright afflicted Lucy, Robert's niece who seems to sustain the most injuries of the lot.
There is a brilliant physicality to the work and the performer's comic timing of the gags, which the audience doesn't necessarily see coming, are fabulous. New inventive concepts have been included to keep the work fresh whilst classic comic techniques are reprised including a liberal does of repeated events for those that missed them the first time. To present such a chaotic piece so 'smoothly' shows an incredible skill and choreography from Nancy Zamit and Dave Hearn whilst Simon Scullion's set degrades fabulously. Matt Haskins lighting design that works with Scullion's design to incorporate the properties of black light was inspired and creative.
For a fun filled evening for all ages, PETER PAN GOES WRONG is a brilliant work that is the perfect piece of frivolous fun where you can roar out laughing, call out to the villains and audibly gasp at the torrent of tricks that unfold.
PETER PAN GOES WRONG
Photos: From Website