Peter Pan Goes Wrong - Milton Keynes Theatre (
I had to take the day off after seeing Peter Pan Goes Wrong
the night before. Obviously my ribs were aching from laughing so hard but in
truth I was still sniggering and snorting so much I couldn’t bear my colleagues
demanding what was so funny.

Peter Pan Goes Wrong is not just Very Silly, it’s Very
Silly Indeed; a brilliant and very English combination of panto, Python,
physical comedy, sight gags and sheer embarrassment.

It’s the first night of the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society
(a staple vehicle
in previous Goes Wrong stage productions and TV show) production of Peter Pan
and the audience enters to an army of stagehands in the auditorium attempting to
fix the shortcomings of the electrical system with miles of wiring. Tools get
lost, tempers get frayed and the scene is set for disaster.

Any attempt to describe the subsequent action in detail
would rob you of the joy and delight in the craft of the production but any
amateur production that, from the start 
involves artistic differences between the director and assistant, sorry,
co-director; an actor with chronic stage fright; a young man who’s only in the
production because his dad is stumping up the cash for the show (last year’s
under-financed Jack And The Bean didn’t play well) and a bewildered thesp who
needs a headset to remember his lines is bound to be doomed. What could
possibly go right?

Some of the stunts look pretty dangerous to the untrained
eye and it’s a tribute to the clowning craft of the performers and the
behind-the-scenes tech team that Act 2 doesn’t take place in A&E on a
regular basis. The script, too, shows some terrific structural touches: there
are lots of things planted in Act 1 that have glorious pay-offs later on.

Adam Meggido directs the 14-strong cast with flair and the
cast responds with boundless energy, essential in a parodic farce such as this.
It’s unfair to single out individuals from this zesty ensemble but Tom Babbage
as the hapless Max wins the hearts of the audience, who, themselves are drawn
into the action.

So you got through dry January? Give yourself a treat with
this intoxicating production. And take the kids!

Peter Pan Goes Wrong is at Milton Keynes Theatre until
Saturday Feb 8.