Peter Pan Goes Wrong at The Alexandra, Birmingham - Review

Peter Pan Goes Wrong at The Alexandra, Birmingham - Review


Posted 2024-03-20 by Andy Colemanfollow

Mon 18 Mar 2024 - Sat 23 Mar 2024

This madcap comedy probably generates more laughs per minute than is good for your health. The Alexandra audience was chuckling even before curtain-up as ‘stagehands’ from the Cornley Drama Society struggled to prepare the set for the evening’s entertainment.

Before the action got underway there was more humour courtesy of an introduction by the directors of the am-dram production of Peter Pan that we were about to see. Chris Bean (played by Jack Michael Stacey) emphasised that it was not a pantomime, but he was immediately contradicted by Robert Grove (Matthew Howell) who led the audience in a chorus of “Oh yes it is”.
The panto theme continued throughout, with lots of audience participation, plenty of boos and hisses, and a very funny exchange of “He’s behind you” with Captain Hook (also played by Jack Michael Stacey).

Jack Michael Stacey as Captain Hook. Pic: Pamela Raith

The actors playing multiple roles provide many opportunities for comedy – Annie Twilloil (played on press night by understudy Clare Noy) goes through a number of exhausting quick-change routines as she attempts to portray both Mrs Darling and Lisa the maid.

The early scenes at the Darling family home, before they meet Peter Pan, are hilarious, with loads of slapstick, pratfalls and mishaps. Furniture falls apart, electrics go haywire, characters get stuck indoors - and the technicians are back on stage trying to repair the damage. It’s a real throwback to the glory days of the likes of Laurel & Hardy.

Matthew Howell is Nana the Dog. Pic: Pamela Raith

It’s difficult to see how the actors can continue without corpsing. Understudy Conseula Rolle is terrific as Sandra Wilkinson (playing Wendy Darling), while Theo Toksvig-Stewart (playing Max Bennett playing Michael Darling) is convincing as the performer who is only in the show because his uncle is funding it, and he wants to get close to Sandra who he is in love with.

There are some fun moments provided by Clark Devlin who is CDS member Dennis Tyde playing John Darling. Dennis has not learnt any lines so has to be prompted via some prominent headphones. Unfortunately, Dennis relays out loud everything he hears through the ‘phones, whether they’re his lines or not.

Clark Devlin as Dennis playing John Darling. Pic: Pamela Raith

Rosemarie Akwafo is good as Lucy Grove, who suffers from stage fright (not helpful if you want to be an actor), and Matthew Howell appears throughout in a number of roles, all of which usually result in him being left in an embarrassing position.

Rosemarie Akwafo and Matthew Howell. Pic: Pamela Raith

Let’s not forget Gareth Tempest (playing Jonathan Harris playing Peter Pan), who has the unenviable task of flying around suspended by wires (and inevitably bashing into the scenery), Jake Burgum as stagehand Trevor Watson (who we see too much of, in more ways than one) and Jean-Luke Worrell as the narrator Francis Beaumont. Jean-Luke was excellent in Cluedo , which visited The Alexandra in 2022, and he offers another memorable performance in Peter Pan Goes Wrong.

Jean-Luke Worrell as Francis the narrator. Pic: Pamela Raith

The sets are fantastic and the final scene, with a revolving stage, takes farce to a new level.

Peter Pan Goes Wrong is at The Alexandra until March 23. It continues its tour at Manchester Opera House, Leicester Curve and Cheltenham Everyman.

I’m now looking forward to the next Mischief Production play, Mind Mangler , which is at The Alexandra from May 27 till May 29, 2024.

Rating 4 out of 5


#theatre reviews
281061 - 2024-03-18 14:41:36


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