Peter Pan Goes Wrong, Edinburgh Playhouse ****

If you are going to see Peter Pan Goes Wrong, make sure you take your seats early. Even before it starts, the chaos is underway with the stage crew among the audience sorting out technical problems.

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It’s a great ice breaker for a show that delivers more laughs per minute than any stand-up comedian could deliver on stage. It has the same glorious deadpan delivery of Naked Gun, or Soap – that wonderful but largely forgotten parody of daytime soap operas - and an outstanding cast which executes every mishap with precision timing and comic ingenuity.

The result is two hours of slapstick, farce and physical comedy which simply does not pause for breath from start to finish. Even the programme is a hoot - well worth getting a copy as it mimics those am-dram efforts complete with a wordsearch and some superb notes from previous shows.

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Cornley Drama Society may well be fictional, but the mishaps which befall their production will be familiar to anyone who has ever stepped on stage or worked behind the scenes. Their production of Peter Pan is chaotic from the very start, with every single scene and line sculpted perfectly by writers Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields, and delivered by a cast that works superbly off each other.

Peter Pan Goes Wrong is at the Playhouse Theatre, Edinburgh until Saturday (Pic: Pamela Raith)Peter Pan Goes Wrong is at the Playhouse Theatre, Edinburgh until Saturday (Pic: Pamela Raith)
Peter Pan Goes Wrong is at the Playhouse Theatre, Edinburgh until Saturday (Pic: Pamela Raith)

Cornley may insist it isn’t a panto, but audience participation is a key part of this show, and it’s clear from the shout outs and response that many have seen the ‘Goes Wrong’ shows before. Jack Michael Stacey has the most fun working off the audience as Captain Hook, particularly in the second half. He also plays George Darling - all the cast double up on parts, changing with lightning speed - as JM Barrie’s classic story is subject to all manner of comedic carnage.

Theo Toksvig-Stewart brought endless enthusiasm and energy to the role of Max, and also garnered the audience’s sympathy as more cock-ups led to backstage secrets and gossip being spilled on to the stage. Matthew Howell was magnificent as Nana the dog and an incomprehensible pirate, Jean-Luke Worrell’s glittery narrator was a joy to behold, while Clark Devlin excelled as Dennis, the gormless but lovable cast member who gets all his lines fed via headphones throughout.

But Peter Pan is a collective triumph from Mischief Theatre where each member supports the next one, and it was fantastic to see the backstage team share the curtain call - their roles off stage and behind the scenery which wobbles and collapses was key to the slickness of the whole show. It takes a heck of a lot of work to make things go wrong on such a scale. gain to deliver two hours of fabulous and painfully funny entertainment.

> Peter Pan Goes Wrong is at the Playhouse Theatre, Edinburgh until Saturday. Ticket info here