Peter Pan Goes Wrong on Broadway (Courtesy Photo)

Peter Pan Goes Wrong is made for you if you love farce, particularly British-hatched farce. If you are not a fan of broad comedy imported from Great Britain, stay away from this British comedy.

The newest import from the other side of the pond is from Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields. The two co-founders of Great Britain’s Mischief Theatre Company—and the imaginary Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society.

The tomfoolery starts while the audience is still trying to find their seats. And it’s clear from the start that these stagehands, aka the Cornley crew, are lacking in skills, or rather, they are so skilled at looking unskilled that we are witnessing a comedic genius. Much like love is in the eye of the beholder, so is Peter Pan Goes Wrong as the team steps into reimagining the classic story of Peter Pan.

The narrator Francis Beaumont plays a few roles, including an actor-pirate, and to be clear, the premise of Peter Pan Goes Wrong has layers. A few messages are being broadcast as the thespians pour their heart into the demanding production filled with challenges like a temperamental electrical grid, unsafe rigging, faulty trap doors, and a list of other things that keep going wrong.

The play is a play within a play. The charming Trevor, the wacky stage manager (Chris
Leask), trying his best to keep the actors safe. Overhead is the taped voice of the co-
director, Robert (Lewis), inserting his creative ideas and saying politically incorrect and awkward things.

The cast gave their all, including new actors who should not be on the stage, including Dennis (Sayer), who can’t remember his lines and needs headphones to feed them to him and the stage directions. In the role of young Wendy Darling (Charlie Russell), her attempt to get on with it is commendable. You can almost see her head churning the words repeatedly; the show must go on—and it does.

It takes great skill to cast a group of actors who are supposed to be bad by design. However, these performers are excellent. They take creating mayhem to another level. In the role of Peter Pan (Greg Tannahill), just watching him deal with the faulty wirework (he can fly, remember) is suspenseful and downright hilarious.

There are some standouts in the cast, including the outstanding actress Nancy Zamit, who plays several roles, including Lisa, the Darlings’ housemaid, Mother Mary Darling, Curly, the Lost Boy of Neverland, and Tinkerbell, whose ability to change outfits in a blink of an eye is a revelation all its own. Doubling as George, the father of the Darling family, and the historic Captain Hook, Chris Bean is sublime.

I will end this review as I began it. If you love farce, particularly one with a British flair, then Peter Pan Goes Wrong is made for you. If you are not a fan of broad comedy imported from Great Britain, stay away from this very British comedy. Peter Pan Goes Wrong stars Matthew Cavendish, Bianca Horn, Harry Kershaw, Neil Patrick Harris, Chris Leask, Henry Lewis, Ellie Morris, Charlie Russell, Jonathan Sayer, Henry Shields, Greg Tannahill, Nancy Zamit, Ryan Vincent Anderson, Stephen James Anthony, Fred Gray, and Brennan Stacker. The show is at The Ethel Barrymore Theatre (243 West 47th Street). It opened on April 19 for a limited 16½ week engagement. Running time: 2 HOURS, 5 MIN.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *