dpm is a Birmingham-based freelancer with experience of arts and lifestyle features.
It'll be all right on the night - or maybe not
To say that Peter Pan goes wrong is an understatement in this madcap comedy currently at Birmingham Repertory Theatre.
Inspired by a production of the J M Barrie's children's classic which was so bad it became a theatrical sensation, this is a mock-up of an amateur dramatics show.
Staged by the fictitious Cornley Youth Theatre, we are at the premiere of what is to become a stage disaster.
The pirates search for Peter
With hormones running wild among the teenagers and the adults, we've got off-stage love trysts and betrayals suddenly in the limelight. There is scenery collapse after scenery collapse – and don't even mention the flying stunts. With half of the cast sporting injuries inflicted by wayward props and the other half receiving bruises from their fellow actors, it is literally one bump after the other.
There is plenty of over-acting, dollops of slapstick and a good bit of chasing around the stage.
You can't help but warm to the cast as they are determined to triumph over adversity and keep to the old adage – the show must go on. As they bravely try to ignore the mishaps around them, it can only descend into more chaos.
Chris Bean holds centre stage as the Cornley Youth Theatre director, as George Darling and as a dastardly Captain Hook. His attempts to open the poison bottle with his hook are an inspired moment of theatre.
Jonathan Harris is a game Peter Pan whose flights of fancy become flights of fear and Sandra Wilkinson is a pouty Wendy with a penchant for over-enthusiastic amateur dramatics.
The show, which in reality is staged by Mischief Theatre Company and directed by Adam Meggido, is good old family fun with laughs a minute for all ages.
At Birmingham until February 1, the production is touring the UK until July – click on www.peterpangoeswrong.com for full tour details.