A STAGE weight crashes to the ground narrowly missing one of the actors by inches. Another actor, wrapped in fairy lights, stops the production when she is accidentally electrocuted by falling water.
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King’s Theatre, Leven Street
Meanwhile, one of the stage crew - strung up on a wire, backside hanging out his trousers - smashes through the set with such force you can almost see the words ‘law suit’ shining in neon letters behind him. Welcome to Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’s disastrous production of Peter Pan, everyone.
As you can probably tell, the creative team behind this faux anti-panto need everything to go perfectly right in order for things to go wrong. One genuine mistake and someone is seriously risking major injury. And that’s what makes Mischief Theatre Ltd’s so exciting. Lights burst at inappropriate moments, cues are missed, and there’s just as much drama off the stage as on it.
The elderly, bald and bearded assistant director, for example, ends up having to play one of the children. The person putting up the cash to fund the show has to be shoe-horned into the cast, much to the other actors’ disdain. Then there’s Wendy and Tinkerbell throttling each other for the affections of Peter.
Of course, comedy works best when it’s at the expense of someone’s pain or injury, and barely a second goes by during this two-hour calamity without the audience erupting into fits of laughter. It’s kids-orientated, sure, but there’s risque elements, too, proving the company like to take things - literally in some cases - right to the edge.
Performed at a ferocious pace (blink and you’ll miss something), thanks to a three-set revolving stage, you’ll be swinging from Neverland and Hook’s see-sawing boat to Wendy’s bedroom at 100mph. Or, in this case, 100dpm (disasters per minute).
Rarely has something so wrong seemed so right.
Run ends Saturday