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Mischief Night: “Peter Pan Goes Wrong” reviewed

Peter Pan Goes Wrong is from Mischief, the UK-based team behind the long-running Play That Goes Wrong and premier purveyors of onstage stunts that will make you gasp and howl with laughter. Once again, we encounter the Cornley Drama Society, led by director Chris Bean (Henry Shields) and his assistant director (read: rival) Robert Grove (Henry Lewis). They have used a generous donation from the rich uncle of Max (Matthew Cavendish) to put on their most technically ambitious production yet: J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, complete with a rotating stage, flying actors, and a light-up dress for Tinker Bell (Nancy Zamit). What could go wrong?

Plenty. And it’s not just the DIY electrical work. Max isn’t content with his role (Michael/crocodile) and has learned all of Peter’s lines in hopes of getting to share an onstage kiss with Sandra (Charlie Russell), who plays Wendy. Corney Drama Society needs Max’s family’s money, but they have already cast Jonathan (Greg Tannahill), a real-life boy who won’t grow up who is presently enjoying a showmance with Sandra. Meanwhile, Dennis (Jonathan Sayer) wears a large headset to feed him his lines; but in a place as densely packed as midtown Manhattan, you never know when you’re going to stumble onto another show’s frequency. And then there’s poor, overworked stage manager Trevor (Chris Leask), who spends much of the evening trying to keep the set from collapsing. Their backstage drama seeps into the spotlight as comic mishaps arrive with the frequency of jokes in a normal comedy.