I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
West End hit tours the UK
With so much bad news around, we need something to cheer us up – and it's just arrived in Birmingham. Peter Pan Goes Wrongis the perfect way to ensure that for two hours we can forget about the awful weather, the widespread floods and the threat of Coronavirus.
Mind you, as The Alexandra audience is relaxing and enjoying the show, the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society is having a terrible time attempting to stage its version of JM Barrie's classic tale.
Pirates: Patrick Warner as Francis Beaumont and Oliver Senton as Robert Grove (pic: Alastair Muir)
The disasters begin before the production even starts. As we enter the auditorium we see stage hands and cast members frantically trying to repair malfunctioning electric lights on the stage. It's just a taste of the catastrophes to come. Falling scenery, technical hitches, slapstick routines and bickering cast members combine with terrible acting, a performer with stage fright and a cast member who can't remember his lines so has them conveyed to him through headphones. But the result is a hilarious evening, courtesy of Mischief Theatre which has found comedy gold with its "Goes Wrong" presentations. A second TV series of The Goes Wrong Showhas just been commissioned by the BBC and the stage versions can currently be seen around the world.
Going wrong: Phoebe Ellabani as Annie Twilloil, Katy Daghorn as Sandra Wilkinson, Ava Pickett (Ensemble) and Georgia Bradley as Lucy Grove (pic: Alastair Muir)
Peter Pan Goes Wrong is a play within a play so the actors are characters performing roles in the amateur production. I liked Katy Daghorn's outrageous overacting as Sandra Wilkinson playing Wendy Darling, Phoebe Ellabani's quick change routines as she plays Annie Twilloil appearing as both Mrs Darling and the housekeeper Lisa (and also Tinker Bell and Tiger Lily), and Oliver Senton's self importance as long-standing company member Robert Grove who plays Nana the Dog, Peter's shadow and Starkey the pirate.
The stunts are impressive. There were gasps from the audience as Peter Pan (James Marlowe as Jonathan Harris) noisily bashes into the scenery while "flying" on wires above the stage. Add collapsing furniture, explosions, fire and dodgy electrics into the mix and it's no wonder that some of the performers finish the show bandaged, being treated by paramedics, in a wheel chair or unconscious.
Amateur dramatics: Phoebe Ellabani as Annie Twilloil, Oliver Senton as Robert Grove and Romayne Andrews as Dennis Tyde (pic: Alastair Muir)
The drama society director Chris Bean (George Haynes), who also plays Mr Darling and Captain Hook, announced that it was not a pantomime but the audience soon joined in with calls of "behind you" and "oh yes it is, oh no it isn't". This led to good-natured heckles, some from youngsters who had been brought along by parents following the success of the TV programme.
In truth, Peter Pan Goes Wrong is more family-friendly than the big budget, celebrity-led "traditional" pantos that have become increasingly smutty over the past few years. Give me a Goes Wrong show anytime!
Peter Pan Goes Wrong continues at Birmingham Alexandra Theatre until Saturday February 22, 2020. It can be seen at Coventry's Belgrade Theatre February 25 - 29.