Mischief Theatre’s accessible brand of slick, silly slapstick has made it an indisputable phenomenon, with the company putting successful TV spots, multiple tours, and extended West End residencies under its belt.
This spirited remount of 2015’s Peter Pan Goes Wrong ably demonstrates the skill and precision that made the company its name, a systematic dismantling of JM Barrie’s beloved fairy story that follows a cast of gloriously inept, paper-thin characters through a single cataclysmic performance.
Director Adam Meggido orchestrates the chaos with crisp timing and a breathless pace, presenting an almost uninterrupted sequence of sight gags, set pieces, and fourth-wall-breaking bickering. Some ambitious wire work, which genuinely seems perilous, adds to the sense of escalating chaos, with Ciaran Kellgren’s chirpy Peter Pan being swung violently about like a wrecking ball in green tights.
Connor Crawford shows off a real talent for painfully convincing pratfalls, slipping, tripping, and crashing to the floor with almost metronomic regularity as a harassed and irascible Captain Hook. Tom Babbage is endearing as enthusiastic amateur Max, propelling himself around on a wheeled trolley in a pleasingly tactile crocodile costume.
Meanwhile Katy Daghorn invests her Wendy with ludicrous, arm-flailing, body-popping physicality, conveying the show’s ropy romantic subplot with a steady stream of yearning glances.
An elaborate, rotating, almost completely collapsible set from designer Simon Scullion becomes effectively a performer in its own right, with elements breaking off, tilting, or occasionally exploding with the same impeccable timing that infuses the whole production.