Review: Mischief Theatre's PETER PAN GOES WRONG, Television Broadcast

Mischief Theatre are taking the World by storm at the moment. With three successful West End plays all currently running, a UK tour and an up-coming Broadway transfer on their hands, they're a company not to miss. But this latest addition to their wealth of shows is something very original: a BBC One adaptation of one of their plays, and it's its presentation that makes it so exciting.

I didn't really enjoy Mischief Theatre's first play The Play That Goes Wrong when I saw it a few years ago and this play is very similar in its format: it's a story about an amateur dramatics group telling a story that just doesn't ever seem to go right. The reason I don't seem to enjoy this format is simply because the stuff that goes wrong has to be more and more stupid to justify the play telling a story you already know the end of, like Peter Pan, but the fact that this was presented as a much shorter one-hour version of the play made it easier to handle and as a result, much more enjoyable.

Greg Tannahill and Nancy Zamit as Peter Pan and Tinkerbell in Peter Pan Goes Wrong

Now don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of Mischief Theatre's work. While I didn't adore The Play That Goes Wrong, I appreciated it, and I did really enjoy The Comedy About A Bank Robbery last year and it landed itself as being one of the best plays I saw in 2016. This show is of that calibre and is - in my opinion - much more funny than the company's first play, making it a nice blend of that and Bank Robbery. I especially liked the differences that they made for the play's television broadcast including the addition of David Suchet as the Narrator, the ability to make jokes about the fact that it's a television broadcast, and when the pirate ship smashes through several different iconic BBC sets at the end of the broadcast. It made the whole thing much more personal and, as a result, funny.

The cast are fantastic as well as they are of course the original team from Mischief Theatre. I wasn't fortunate enough to see them in The Play That Goes Wrong, but I did see them all at play in The Comedy About A Bank Robbery and absolutely loved them. Their stories seem to work much better when told by them (as it is of course a piece that they devised together as a group) and the chemistry between them all is evident throughout. As the play is so full of slapstick humour, it takes a lot of trust between people for it to work convincingly and there are moments when they are putting themselves in each other's hands for some of the most outrageous things and you can tell that it wouldn't work if they weren't all such firm friends.

Dave Hearn and Charlie Russell star in Peter Pan Goes Wrong

The production value of this piece was fantastic as well. Little did I know until late into the broadcast that it was in fact performed on a small purpose-built sound stage in front of a live studio audience as opposed to being recorded in the Apollo Theatre. This meant that the stage was much smaller which always works better for these kinds of things, as well as meaning that they could take great liberty in using turntables and huge set changes at great speed because the scene changes could be cut in the editing room. I like how their plays' designs are always to look like something out of a cartoon children's book because they're supposed to look kind of cheap and I'm glad that wasn't lost here.

The full company of Peter Pan Goes Wrong

I don't know how much this broadcast differs from the stage production because I haven't seen it, but I do know that this condensed version of the story is long enough to make it enjoyable and to keep you compelled to watch throughout the whole duration. It's funny, silly and a perfect introduction to Mischief Theatre if you're yet to discover them for yourself, and I loved it.

Peter Pan Goes Wrong is available to watch on BBC iPlayer for the next fortnight here, or you can buy tickets to see the show at the Apollo Theatre through January 29th here.

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