Peter Pan Goes Wrong – Review – Leeds Grand Theatre
By Sue Dean, January 2024
This hilarious romp-with-a-twist through the classic tale of Peter Pan is a masterclass in slapstick comedy and comedic timing. Crafted by the ingenious minds of Mischief, under the meticulous direction of Adam Meggido, it is laugh-out-loud theatre – irreverant, imaginative and so finely-tuned as to appear always on the brink of total collapse.
From the outset, the audience is inside the frenetic world of the play – indeed, even before the curtain rises there’s a palpable sense of bedlam, with characters bustling around the stage and auditorium, frantically trying to rectify electrical mishaps and locate missing props. This pre-show pandemonium sets the stage for an evening where anything that can go wrong, does – all in brilliantly choreographed organised chaos.
The slapstick comedy that unfolds takes J.M. Barrie’s classic story into uncharted waters, turning the narrative on its head. The actors, playing multiple roles, often mix parts in an intentionally confusing yet hilarious manner. The finesse with which they juggle these roles, especially notable in performances like Annie Twilloil’s portrayal of Tinkerbell, Mary Darling, Lisa, and Curly, is remarkable. Her rapid costume changes, sometimes only partial, add to the hilarity.
Chris Bean’s portrayal of Captain Hook is another highlight. He insists that he is not in a panto, leading to playful banter with the audience that blurs the line between the play and a pantomime. This interaction adds another layer of enjoyment to the performance, making the audience feel like a part of the production.
The set design by Simon Scullion is superb, initially depicting a children’s bedroom but seamlessly transforming into a forest and a pirate ship, further contributing to the visual humour. The lighting and sound design, along with the co-composed music, perfectly complement the chaotic energy of the play.
The ensemble cast deserves special mention for their energetic commitment and their ability to make each line a moment of laughter. The performance truly is a team effort, with every cast member shining in their respective roles. The mind-boggling finale is a sight to behold, appearing almost dangerous in its organised disarray, yet executed with such precision that it speaks volumes of the skill and practice of the actors and the backstage crew.
This play exemplifies the adage that to make everything go wrong, you must do everything right. The standing ovation at the end of the performance is a testament to the hard work and talent that has gone into this production.
Peter Pan Goes Wrong is not just a play; it’s an experience – one that is professionally delivered, immensely enjoyable, and a sheer joy to watch. It reminds us of the magic of theatre and the joy that can be found in shared laughter. For anyone looking for a night of unbridled fun and laughter, Peter Pan Goes Wrong is a must-see.
‘Peter Pan Goes Wrong’ is at Leeds Grand Theatre until 20th January
images: Pamela Raith Photography