Isaac Theatre Royal, Christchurch

28/11/2018 - 02/12/2018

Opera House, Wellington

21/11/2018 - 25/11/2018

Production Details


Following hot on the wobbly heels of the box office hit The Play That Goes Wrong, comes another triumphant disaster from London’s West End.  If all goes to pan/plan, Peter Pan Goes Wrong should be stumbling around New Zealand from 31 October to 2 December 2018.  Nominated for an Olivier Award in 2016 for Best New Comedy, Peter Pan Goes Wrong sees Mischief Theatre bring their trademark comic mayhem to the J.M. Barrie classic, Peter Pan.

In Peter Pan Goes Wrong, the much-loved members of The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society once again battle against technical hitches, flying mishaps and cast disputes on their way to Neverland with hilarious and disastrous results.

Peter Pan Goes Wrong is co-written by Mischief Theatre company members Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, creators of the Olivier Award-winning comedy The Play That Goes Wrong, which played to packed theatres in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland in 2017.  Both ‘Goes Wrong’ productions are renowned for their highly physical comedy packed with finely-tuned farce and Buster Keaton-inspired slapstick delivered with split-second timing.

“We’ve been looking for Neverland, and someone said it was over this way, but I think maybe they got confused – Neverland, Newzealand – anyway we’ll go on a little ‘tricky tour’ or whatever you call it while we’re here and then maybe head back to London,” said Henry Lewis. 

Peter Pan Goes Wrong will play
at The Civic in Auckland from 31 October to 18 November,
at the Opera House in Wellington from 21 -25 November,
nd then at the Isaac Theatre Royal in Christchurch from 28 November to 2 December. 

James Cundall, CEO of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions and presenter of Peter Pan Goes Wrong in New Zealand, said “Audiences in New Zealand gave a rapturous welcome to The Play That Goes Wrong when it toured last year, demonstrating their fantastic sense of humour and love of a good time.  Peter Pan offers another marvellous opportunity for things to go drastically wrong for the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society, and for New Zealand audiences to once again ache from laughter.”

Peter Pan Goes Wrong premiered at the Pleasance Theatre in London in December 2013 before going on to tour the UK during 2014.  The production made its West End debut in 2015 for a Christmas season, returning the following year from October for another Christmas season, making it the third show running in the West End from the Mischief Theatre Company after The Play That Goes Wrong and The Comedy About a Bank Robbery.

Peter Pan Goes Wrong is directed by Adam Meggido, with set design by Simon Scullion, lighting by Matt Haskins, costumes by Roberto Surace, sound design by Ella Wahlstrom and songs composed by Richard Baker and Rob Falconer. 





Theatre ,

1 h 50 min, incl. interval

A side-splitting romp for the whole family!

Review by Grant Hindin Miller 29th Nov 2018

“Comedy has to be done en clair,” says James Thurber. “You can’t blunt the edge of wit or the point of satire with obscurity. Try to imagine a famous witty saying that is not immediately clear.”

Peter Pan Goes Wrong is done en clair.

Even before the curtain is raised (metaphorically) there are theatrical hi jinks on and off stage which prime the audience for what is to come. The front rows are rehearsed in pantomime protocol and the patrons love it. It’s good to see a large multi-generational audience, especially so many school-aged children with enthusiastic relatives.

The play (about putting on a play) begins in full throttle. We are introduced to the key players: George Darling (Connor Crawford who also plays Captain Hook), Nana the dog (Luke Joslin who also plays Starkey and Co-Assistant Director), Wendy Darling (Francine Cain, whose racy routines are delectable), Michael Darling (Jordan Prosser, who also stars as The Crocodile), John Darling (George Kemp who also plays Mr Smee), and Mary Darling (Tammy Weller who also plays Lisa, Tinker Bell, and Tiger Lily). Peter Pan, when he drops in, is played by Darcy Brown.

The Stage Manager, Adam Dunn, provides macho relief, Jessie Yates plays Female Understudy, and Matt Whitty, Male Understudy. Teagan Wouters is the late blooming Lucy. The surprise appearance of Jay Laga’aia as Narrator (and pirate) elicits a deserving special clap.

Every performer is committed and excellent. Tammy Weller is splendid in all her glorious manifestations, Connor Crawford is strong in his roles, Luke Joslin commands attention, Francine Cain is great fun, Jordan Prosser and George Kemp are both, in their own ways, quirky and sympathetic; and of course Darcy Brown makes for a fitting (if unfaithful) Peter Pan. 

This is physical theatre – we hope Health and Safety don’t hear about it – every device in the book is used: if it can collapse, miss, fall or explode, then it will. The well-designed sets take a beating, the plot is characterised by movement, mistake, mirth and mayhem. It’s an actor’s playground and the performers have a ball. J M Barrie would approve. I love the underwater lagoon sequence. There are songs, musical stage-stoppers (for unexpected reasons); and all sorts of clever revelations and repartee. 

Written by three graduates of LAMDA – the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art: Jonathan Sayer, Henry Shields, and Henry Lewis (who produce under the moniker Mischief Theatre); they first achieved success with The Play That Goes Wrong and reprised the premise with Peter Pan. (They have since created A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong and The Comedy About a Bank Robbery. It’s a winning formula – gold for theatres and audiences.)

We give full marks to the cast and crew of Peter Pan Goes Wrong. It never lets up and the finale is suitably manic – it’s a side-splitting romp for the whole family – exuberant and satisfying. 


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Oh so right when it goes wrong

Review by Joanna Rix 24th Nov 2018

The publicity soundbites were already effusive: “Hilarious”; “Guaranteed laugh fest”; “Outrageously funny” – and still Peter Pan Goes Wrong managed to over-deliver.

We hadn’t even settled into our seats and my tween daughter was roped into a “leading role” by “director” Chris Bean (played by Connor Crawford), passing a dodgy-looking electric cable over her head as it went from smiling person to smiling person – with loud sparking sounds – across the centre of Wellington’s Opera Theatre [sic].

Attending her first pantomime, and unfamiliar with the level of audience participation involved and encouraged, my daughter looked at me with a confused grin: “Is this supposed to happen?” [More]


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You have to see it to believe it

Review by John Smythe 22nd Nov 2018

Many decades ago, on this very Opera House stage, my twin brother and I were Lost Boys in a Wellington Repertory production of Peter Pan. Throughout the whole season only two things went wrong.

There was a mix-up with the sound effects, so when a pirate went over the side in the climactic fight scene, Nana the Dog barked. One remaining pirate quipped to another, “Dogfish must’ve got him.” Harr. Then there was the time Wendy sent us off to get ready for bed: a very quick change. But the wardrobe team, who were supposed to be backstage with a nightshirt on each arm ready for us to dive into, were nowhere to be seen. No time to go looking for them. We bounced back in and one of us said, “Our nightshirts are in the wash!” “Never mind,” said Wendy. “Hop into bed.”

This record of memorable mishaps is quickly broken in Peter Pan Goes Wrong even before the actual show starts, during the Health and Safety briefing delivered by the stage manager Trevor Watson (played by Adam Dunn). Minutes into the Darling children’s bedroom scene it becomes clear that everything that can go wrong will go wrong.

The challenge, then, is to avoid predictability and this is achieved with alacrity. Timing is all – not only to get the laugh or gasp, or both, but also to ensure the safety of the cast and crew. One cast member with her leg in a cast exemplifies the inherent danger – and right at the end a major disaster occurs. I can’t say what, of course, but it can be reversed in the time-honoured way (for those who know their Peter Pan) if we all play our part. And we do because – as with all good audience participation – the outcome depends upon it; an actual life depends upon it!

This ever-present sense of jeopardy is a big contributor to the comedy. What also stops the 90-odd minutes of calamitous action (there is an interval as well) from being an exhausting welter of wackiness that eventually outstays its welcome is the characters and relationships that are revealed and evolve as the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society attempts to stage J M Barrie’s classic play.  

The conflict between the director, Chris Bean (Connor Crawford) and his assistant Robert Grove (Luke Joslin), who insists on being called the co-director, is established up front – and Robert’s role in past and present catastrophes becomes a key plot point that foments the cataclysmic climax.

Meanwhile Connor as Chris plays George Darling with a would-be upright demeanour, subverted by many a spectacular slip and pratfall, and Captain Hook with a suaveness that finally gives way to the director’s true persona. And Luke as Robert suffers innumerable mishaps as Nana the Dog, Peter Pan’s Shadow and Starkey the pirate before his true part in proceedings becomes apparent.

Annie Twilloil (Tammy Weller) achieves astonishingly quick changes between Mary Darling and her housekeeper, Lisa, and also doubles as a less-than-flighty Tinker Bell and poor doomed Tiger Lily. Sandra Wilkinson (Francine Cain) is constantly auditioning for a Broadway musical as she plays out the role of Wendy Darling. When it emerges that Annie and Sandra have more in common than they realised, opinions of Sandra’s flightiness need to be revised.

It takes a while to discover why Max Bennett (Jordan Prosser), who plays Michael Darling and The Crocodile and dreams of playing the title role, is strangely stage-struck, not to mention love-struck. His on-stage brother, John Darling, is played by Dennis Tyde (George Kemp), who also plays Hook’s dogsbody Smee. Dennis has trouble remembering his lines so he wears a pair of cordless headphones to receive them – but other frequencies randomly intrude, with very funny (for us) results.

Jonathan Harris (Darcy Brown), as Peter Pan, ‘The Boy who Never Grew Up’, spends a lot of time flailing in the air, at the mercy of the unseen techies operating the flies. But when he gets his feet on the ground, the man-within-the-boy is exposed and inevitably gets his come-uppance.

Lucy Grove (Teagan Wouters), who is Robert’s niece and the aforementioned actress on crutches, only has a bit-part as Tootles the Lost Boy. Even so she is very nervous which only increases the danger she’s always in. Only at the very end … (spoiler averted).

Our very own expatriate Kiwi actor Jay Laga’aia tries to hold it all together as Francis Beaumont, the Narrator, who also plays pirate Cecco, but even he is not immune to the vagaries of mobile furniture.  

The stage manager, Trevor (see above) has to go above and beyond to keep the show going, as do his assistant stage managers (and understudies), Grace Ofcharles (Jessie Yates) and Lincoln Parque (Matt Whitty). Meanwhile the out-of-sight backstage crew – the unsung heroes – work hard and fast to keep the stage business and countless sight-gags cracking along.

Writers Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields have presented the entire company with a huge and stimulating challenge which director Adam Meggido ensures is met magnificently, by the designers – Simon Scullion (set), Matt Haskins (lighting), Robert Surace (costume) and Ella Wahlström (sound) – as well as the indefatigable cast and crew.

Most spectacular and seemingly chaotic – and therefore requiring meticulous planning and execution – are the scenes where the three-set revolve spins ‘out of control’ with the cast in one trying to play out a scene, standing by for a scene in another, or getting up to things they oughtn’t to in the third. You have to see it to believe it.

So do. See it. Believe it. Because that’s what make believe is all about. 


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