Civic Theatre, Darlington – 3 February 2015
Cornley Polytechnic returns with their classic Christmas vignette of Peter Pan, however this being Cornley – Peter Pan Goes Wrong
The joy of Mischief Theatre is their writing, its pure genius. The jokes you can see coming a mile away and that just makes them even funnier. The technical aspects are outstanding with the incidents and accidents precise, concise and so well executed. From tiny mishaps like a falling light missing an actress by millimetres to the huge disasters that befall the rest of the show really show the high callibre of the writing, the acting and the production and technical crew who ensure everything goes badly really well. And with a misbehaving rotund it can be no coincidence that by the end it looks like the death scene on the barricade from Les Mis
Its also wonderful that the talented trio of Lewis, Sayer and Shields write such believable characters. So we get to love Sandra, Annie, Robert, Dennis, Chris, Jonathan, Max and Trevor the Stage Manager
This very visual show within a show needs to be seen to be believed so its unfair to give away too much of the plot. However there are simple added extra’s that make the show shine from the start. The hilarious programmes, being stuck in the theatre foyer due to “technical issues” until almost before the show starts, the stage crew still being in the auditorium as we get seated doing last minute bits, arguing between themselves and asking for help from the audience. And an impromptu rendition of “Happy Birthday” for ‘Mary’.
Due to the indisposition of the member of the youth theatre, toddler Michael Darling is now played by “the most mature of the mature students” Robert Grove (Cornelius Both), made funnier that he is over 6 foot tall and had mighty fine beard. John Darling (James Marlow), also over 6 foot has memory problems so is fitted with an ear pierce that predictably picks up different radio stations, police reports and taxi’s.
Wendy Darling (Leonie Hill) is overly flirty and over-acted in every respect. The girlfriend of Peter Pan (Alex Bartram) she is very much the lead and not keen on performing with Max Bennett (Matt Cavendish) who was only given the role because his uncle donated £40,000 to the AmDram’s. However, it is Max who is the true hero of the show
Huge respect to Naomi Sheldon who plays Annie playing Mrs Darling, Liza the Maid, Tigerlilly and who gets electrocuted in her role of Tinkerbell; and to Rosie Abraham who plays Lucy playing Tootles, who over-comes her stutter to get the whole audience yelling “I do believe in Fairies” and manages to keep her head (despite almost losing her leg) and admirably finish the show
The whole cast and crew are outstanding. It’s not just a show but a total immersive experience. You will laugh, so much so you may feel you are going to suffocate from lack of air from laughing so much. In Darlington til Sunday – make the trip, its worth every penny