REVIEW: Peter Pan Goes Wrong at the Alexandra

We reviewed the current production of 'Everybody's Talking About Jamie' earlier in its run. This review is an updated version of a previously published one.

Fractionally over 2 years ago, I took my seat in the auditorium of this very theatre, to watch The Play That Goes Wrong - the original piece that spawned a series of similar titles. I absolutely adored that show and didn't think for a second, that any other would come remotely close to it.

However, tonight I've walked out of Birmingham's Alexandra Theatre having laughed until I cried at Peter Pan Goes Wrong - a show that brings back perfectly timed, exquisitely executed, good old slapstick British comedy. The run I saw earlier this year was good, but there was something about tonight that was somehow even better.

Peter Pan Goes Wrong is a play by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields. It debuted at The Pleasance Theatre in London in December 2013 before touring the UK.

The premise, as in The Play That Goes Wrong, is that the actors and crews are members of the fictitious ‘Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’, presenting their production of the J.M. Barrie classic Peter Pan, which is ruined through amateurism and personal rivalries.

The accident prone cast struggle through every scene and actors get knocked out, Peter's flying leaves a lot to be desired and the set falls down - but never before has something that's founded on the principal of misfortune been so perfect at getting everything right!

Absolute credit in this production has to go to the cast who are slick, well rehearsed and magic from the word go. Be under no illusion; to perform in a play where things don't go to plan is arguably more difficult than one where they do, but each person on stage this evening was a shining example of precision acting and played their part in creating a comedy masterpiece.

To single out individuals would seem crass as, more than probably any of its contemporaries, this is an ensemble piece which requires precision, trust and impeccable timing. Each performer is a cog in a perfectly oiled machine which never stops in a relentless piece of theatre. However special mention has to go to Matthew Howell as Robert and Jack Michael Stacey as Chris, the director and co-dir...ASSISTANT director of Cornely Drama Society. 

The parts are synonymous with the two original actors who took them on; Henry Shields and Henry Lewis and, alongside the character of Dennis, are the two constants in any Goes Wrong show. The ability to portray a character who in turn mis portraying another character without breaking the initial character is incredible and Howell and Stacey's ability to continue the impeccable characterisation and flick between roles is a phenomenon.

I think it's fair to say that the West End cast have become synonymous with the parts they played, both in The Play That Goes Wrong and, subsequently, in Peter Pan Goes Wrong. They seemed to become connected to the roles in such a way that there was trepidation to see anyone else put the costumes on.

However that trepidation was misplaced; every individual on stage, be it standing or mid-way through a cat flap - excelled and made everyone - no matter what age - cry with laughter.

An absolute must-see on anybody's list - you won't regret it one bit!

Peter Pan Goes Wrong plays at The Alexandra until Saturday 23rd March. For more information, or to get your tickets, head online to

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