pan cast

Survival of the fittest with the cast of Peter Pan. Picture: Alastair Muir

Peter Pan Goes Wrong

Coventry Belgrade


If you’re needing a good laugh, this is the production for you. It is slick, hilarious, and deservedly popular. By the end, the romance of actors playing Peter and Wendy is over, most of the actors are sporting head bandages or crutches and the crocodile is the star of the show! The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society curse has struck again!

You’ll know the story of Peter Pan so I won’t bore you except to say that Mr Darling (George Haynes – also playing Captain Hook) is incredibly forgetful, Mrs Darling (Phoebe Ellabani) also plays the maid Lisa, Tiger Lily and Tinkerbell is a real star at the quick change – mostly . . . until she turns round!

Peter Pan (mostly James Marlow) meets the Darling children, Max (Tom Babbage also plays crocodile and his father has put up most of the money!), Wendy (Eboni Dixon - understudy for an unwell Katy Daghorn, not that anyone would have guessed it as she got everything wrong as well as anyone) and John (Romayne Andrews in faulty headphones because unable to remember lines).

Peter’s shadow is ‘assistant /co-director’ Robert Grove (Oliver Stenton) alluring and challenging in a black lycra number. He is also Nana the dog mostly inextricably stuck in the cat flap! I loved Mrs Darling’s gentle lullaby, increasingly fortissimo as electricians fix the lights, chainsaws extricate the dog and the children’s three-tier bunks collapse . . .!

Oliver Stenton also plays Pirate Starkey so ‘pirate’ that no one understands what he is saying . . . comic genius as he explains to a lost boy Tootles (Georgia Bradley) that he needs his sword not the oar! Equally genius is the amount of audience participation, usually it is George Haynes who says, ‘This is not a pantomime . . . to which the audience not unnaturally ripostes, ‘Oh, yes it is’. In many ways it is a pantomime, so the audience wins!

Man of the match, though, goes to the revolving stage which, at death-defying speed, reveals what is going on backstage in the various sets. The seesawing pirate ship is engineering as well as comic genius and the minor miracle is that no one was really hurt as the cast hurtled from one scene to the next. Peter Pan’s flying antics above the arch gives him and us a birds’ eye view of shenanigans romantic, pugilistic, medical and more. I reckon the cast survivors had a lot of fun and so did we. Directed, or at least the one to blame, by Adam Meggido, Pan, and its cast, will hopefully make it through in one(ish) piece to 29-02-20.

Jane Howard


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