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Posts Tagged ‘peter pan’

Nobody can claim that the title of this play didn’t let them know what to expect!  From the fabulously talented people at the Mischief Theatre Company, and following the success of their genuinely hilarious The Play That Goes Wrong (which is still currently showing at the Duchess Theatre in London, and which won a Ticketmaster Award for Best New Comedy), comes Peter Pan Goes Wrong.

The good people at Cornley Polytechnic Amateur Dramatic Society are staging a “traditional Christmas vignette” (it’s NOT a pantomime, as Chris Bean (played in real life by Laurence Pears) who takes on the roles of Mr Darling and Captain Hook) irritably informs the audience – who naturally respond with “Oh yes it is!”

However, nothing goes right – from scenery that breaks or malfunctions, to one character forgetting his lines and needing an earpiece which picks up local radio, to characters getting their lines mixed up, the play is doomed to failure from the beginning.  But never has getting something wrong felt so right, or been so funny (well, except for in The Play That Goes Wrong obviously).

There were laughs from start to finish, and the whole thing was so cleverly written and put together that it’s easy to forget just how talented the writers and performers in this production have to be to put this together, and to make it look spontaneous.  (It must be incredibly hard to deliberately get so much so wrong).  Leonie Hill played main actress Sandra, who in turn played Wendy Darling, complete with with dramatic and hammy over-acting, while Naomi Sheldon played Annie Twilloil, who had the taxing job of playing four different characters throughout the play.  Alex Bartram played the egotistical Jonathan Harris, who took the part of Peter Pan himself, while sweet Max Bennett (playing the crocodile and Nana the dog) was ably played by Matt Cavendish, and certainly got the audience rooting for him!  The cast was rounded out by Cornelius Booth playing Cornley’s oldest member Robert Grove, who by some misfortune or other has ended up in the part of one of the Darling brothers – complete with bald head and bushy beard; James Marlowe as Dennis Tyde, who needed the aforementioned earpiece; Chris Leask as hapless sound engineer and impromptu Peter Pan Trevor Watson; Harry Kershaw as Francis Beaumont, who took on the dual roles of Smee the Pirate, and the narrator of the whole sorry affair; and Rosie Graham as young Lucy Grove, who was a stuttering – and eventually wheelchair bound – Tootles.  Each and every cast member was terrific – there really was not a weak link among them.

The stage was a revolving set, which naturally would not stop revolving when it was supposed to, and which provided for an uproariously funny, chaotic ending, which must have taken some real working out.  The audience were in stitches throughout, and any fears that I had had that I might be disappointed in Peter Pan Goes Wrong after the sheer hilarity of The Play That Goes Wrong, were soon dispelled.

Suffice to say that Mischief Theatre Company have got a fan for life, and I will definitely be going to see anything that they put on in future.  If you need a good belly laugh, get yourself along to one of their shows – you won’t be disappointed!

(For more information about Mischief Theatre Company, or Peter Pan Goes Wrong, please click here.)

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This film tells the story of J M Barrie, his friendship with the Llewellyn-Davies family, and how it inspired him to write his most famous work, Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up.

At the beginning of the film, Barrie is a playwright whose last play flopped badly with audiences, and he needs a hit.  Dustin Hoffman plays Charles Frohman, a Theatre Manager and friend, who indulges Barrie by staging his works, but despairs of him ever writing anything successful again.

Caught in an increasingly distant marriage, Barrie has a chance meeting with a the widow Sylvia Llewellyn-Davies and her four sons in the park, and becomes close to the family.  He especially feels an affinity with one of her sons Peter, who has taken the death of his father especially hard.  He starts work on his new play, drawing upon his time spent with the children, but more tragedy is just around the corner…

I thought this was a beautiful film.  Johnny Depp, as always, was simply wonderful, and his Scottish accent was pretty much perfect (had I not known otherwise, I would have believed that he was Scottish in real life).  Kate Winslett is also perfectly cast as Mrs Llewellyn-Davies, and Dustin Hoffman, Julie Christie (as Sylvia’s mother, who disapproves of the friendship between her daughter and Barrie) and Radha Mitchell (as Barrie’s wife Mary who is unhappy in her marriage and does not like her husband’s budding friendship with the LLewellyn-Davies family) provide very strong support.

I also loved the way that many scenes were shown as Barrie imagined them in his mind’s eye.  For instance when he was playing at pirates with the children (giving Depp chance to use his Captain Sparrow accent!), the scene was shown as onboard an actual pirate ship, and when Barrie was dancing with his pet dog and pretending it was a bear, we actually see him dancing with a bear – because that it is how he imagines it to be.

The story does employ some poetic licence; although here, Sylvia is shown as already a widow when she first meets Barrie, in real life her husband was alive for much of their friendship (and allegedly unhappy about Barrie’s presence in his family’s life).  Also, there were five Llewellyn-Davies children, not four as depicted in the film, although I have no idea why this change was made.  However, this is not supposed to be a documentary, and certainly did not detract from my enjoyment of the film.

Beautifully shot, beautifully acted, and a wonderful story – I would definitely highly recommend this movie.  But make sure you have a box of tissues nearby – it made me sob!

Year of release: 2004

Director: Marc Foster

Writers: Allan Knee (play), David Magee

Main cast: Johnny Depp, Kate Winslett, Julie Christie, Dustin Hoffman, Freddie Highmore, Radha Mitchell

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