Georgina Southam reviews the West End smash hit Peter Pan Goes Wrong – The Mischief Theatre Company’s latest ‘Goes Wrong’ production. On at Theatre Royal Bath until 1 December

The famous showbiz phrase ‘the show must go on’ is an idea that is firmly entrenched in the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society as they put on yet another disastrous performance – after their previous mishaps with The Play that Goes Wrong and The Comedy About a Bank Robbery. With an obstacle course of theatrical disasters, the cast does their best to perform Peter Pan, in the face of doors refusing to open, sets collapsing and private grudges between characters wreaking havoc.

The high-jinks entertainment gets the audience on side before the action officially begins, with the cast spilling into the stalls, passing an electric cable through the audience to plug in at the back to turn on the stage lights, as well as searching the auditorium for the stage manager’s missing hammer. 

The meticulously executed faux accidents are a delight, along with the rotating stage containing the Darlings’ disaster zone of a nursery with broken bunk beds; the Jolly Roger ship that lifts heavily from side to side with catastrophic results; and the hideout in which Peter Pan gets caught in an incriminating position by his offstage girlfriend. 

As company president Chris (Connor Crawford) moves from uptight professional into a broken man as he watches his play become everything that was not supposed to happen. The rivalry between his character and self-professed co-director Robert (Oliver Senton), is a joy as they bounce off of one another with ease. The amateur performers are keen to outshine one another, as are all the actors, who all play a role in the disastrous failure of their performance.

Will the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society ever put on a play that doesn’t end with concussions, broken bones and a sadly broken cast and crew? It seems unlikely with the Mischief Theatre Company pulling the strings.

Main image: The cast of Peter Pan Goes Wrong. Credit: Alastair Muir