The saying goes that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Well, there's a lot that gets broken throughout Peter Pan Goes Wrong but the latest offering from Mischief Theatre is in no need of fixing.
From the creators of The Play That Goes Wrong, the second of their theatrical misadventures has hit Auckland's Civic Theatre for the start of a national tour. Anyone who saw last year's outing from the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society (the scandal-ridden amateurs at the heart of the Wrong plays) will recognise many of the elements, yet Peter Pan is beleaguered by a completely different series of mishaps unique to this botched retelling of J.M. Barrie's classic fairy-tale.
Something as silly as this retelling shouldn't be this smartly written or perfectly crafted. Yet, whether it's the pompous actors fighting for the limelight, the unwilling stage managers being dragged into the mayhem or the set itself - perhaps the most demanding of them all - every element has a role to play and never ceases to soar (except when it's supposed to crash).
To bring up any of the varied and many catastrophes the society endures would spoil the surprise but Peter Pan's problems begin before the show begins and the writers succeed in their self-imposed task of topping themselves with each succeeding scene.
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This is the type of broad family entertainment that could be easily dismissed but Peter Pan is a true testament to the magic of theatre. Something this slapstick was made for a live audience and shows actors, directors, writers and stagehands at the height of their powers. The big finish brings all those elements together in a showstopping set piece to rival any blockbuster climax.
Every actor leans fully into the madness. Connor Crawford is particularly witty as the exasperated director and a very serious Captain Hook, and Adam Dunn is delightfully deadpan as gruff stage manager Trevor.
The only downside is that it's only on in Auckland for another fortnight. The genius of Peter Pan demands repeat viewing. The succession of concussed cast members may not remember much but this blazing comedy will have you twinkling with delight straight on until morning.
What: Peter Pan Goes Wrong
Where: The Civic, until November 18 followed by Wellington and Christchurch seasons