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Review | Peter Pan Goes Wrong | Manchester Opera House | 26/03/2024

Mischief Theatre aim to cement their status as the kings of comedy theatre with the return of Peter Pan Goes Wrong. Since debuting back in 2013, this Olivier nominated play has thrilled audiences on both sides of the Atlantic, and is now touring the UK for the second time. Currently playing at Manchester Opera House, I went along to find out if the show was worthy of its hype.

If the title wasn’t a give away, the audience know they are in store for chaotic fun from the moment they take their seats. Actors playing stagehands rush around the audience, desperately looking for a much needed hammer. Meanwhile another stagehand passes a long cable across the audience to help power the show, whilst an oblivious Peter Pan poses for photos with audience members.

The (fictional) Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society have decided to put on a production of the classic pantomime Peter Pan. The director however is convinced that it is to be a more serious theatrical affair than merely a bog standard panto! This is the tip of the iceberg with actors and sets falling apart under the pressure of the show.

The set was almost its own character, working well to deliver comedy. Falling set pieces and faulty props aside, it was the revolving stage itself which had the biggest pay off. Framed by curtains, the stage rotated to introduce new scenes. Without giving any spoilers, you simply need to see the show to appreciate just how excellently this works in the pandemonium filled final scene!

Theo Toksvig-Stewart as Max is truly the heart of the piece. The audience really root for him whether as the crocodile, Michael Darling or even for a moment in the leading role. He has the unique ability to make people laugh with nothing more than an innocent knowing smile to the audience. Jamie Birkett is also a standout as Annie, who plays multiple roles to equal success. Her quick changes are particularly hilarious, especially when they go wrong!

The comedy itself comes thick and fast, even if it is sometimes a little over egged! Though a bit of respite wouldn’t go a miss, the humour is undeniable and the audience lap it up. Slapstick moments get some of the biggest laughs of the night, with younger audience members in particular revelling in each and every moment. It has all the elements of a great panto, but with added mayhem littered throughout. Peter Pan Goes Wrong knows exactly what it is, meeting its brief entirely by delivering a riotous comedy that the whole family will enjoy.

Peter Pan Goes Wrong is on at Manchester Opera House until Sunday 31 March 2024.

Note: My ticket was gifted. Irrespective of whether a show is gifted or bought, I always ensure that my reviews are fair and based on my honest opinion alone.


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