Review: Peter Pan Goes Wrong, at the Festival Theatre

Peter Pan Goes Wrong is a funny, silly, unashamedly tongue-in-cheek production, in which everything that could possibly ‘go wrong’, does. The play is very much what it says on the tin – and, whilst there is an element of predictability in that, Mischief Theatre easily pull it off.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Peter Pan Goes Wrong
📍 Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
📅 11 – 16 February 2020
🕖 7.30pm, with matinees on Thu / Sat / Sun (times vary)
🕖 Running time: 2 hours 5 minutes (incl. 20 minute interval)
👥 Production by Mischief Theatre, written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields, and directed by Adam Meggido
🎨 Set design by Simon Scullion
💰 From £22
🎭 Accessible performances include: captioning (Thu), and BSL interpretation / audio description / touch tour (Fri)


Peter Pan isn’t the only thing that has ‘gone wrong’ for Mischief Theatre. The company’s other productions include The Play That Goes Wrong, Magic Goes Wrong, and The Goes Wrong Show.

This concept of putting on a show that uses onstage ‘mishaps’ to parody the medium of theatre is nothing new. One such show, The 39 Steps, played at London’s Criterion Theatre for an impressive nine years; productions like this are popular, and for good reason. Even outside the genre, it is far from unusual for a play to toy with the fourth wall. Something about it just works.

Some of the ‘mishaps’ that occur during Peter Pan Goes Wrong are genuinely surprising, but most are very on the nose. However, the whole production is so tongue-in-cheek that this really doesn’t matter, and even the most predictable gags earn loud laughs from the audience. It is a play of entirely silly humour.

A lot of the comedy in the production is drawn from staging, and for everything to ‘go wrong’ so perfectly is quite a feat. Particularly during the final scenes of the show, where a whole host of mishaps have to slot together just so, in order for comedic chaos to ensure.

I won’t spoil the show by talking too much about the specifics of the staging in the production, not least because all the most surprising moments in the show are set-related. Suffice to say, Simon Scullion’s set design is a work of genius.


Images courtesy of Alastair Muir

Peter Pan Goes Wrong is not only a play within a play – it is a play where each actor takes on multiple roles, within a play. Confusing, in other words – but this juggling of personalities has great comic effect.

Phoebe Ellabani stands out early on, performing as Annie, who plays both Mrs Darling and Lisa, the family’s maid, in a scene intersected with speedy costume changes. The sweet lullaby that she sings as Mrs Darling is one of my favourite moments of the show. Ellabani’s later appearances as Tinker Bell and Tiger Lilly are just as impressive, and just as disaster-filled.

Sandra, who plays Wendy, is played by Katy Daghorn (confused yet?). Daghorn skillfully parodies the kind of over-acted performance that brought me right back to the mild trauma of school plays, dancing her way through most of the show, and forcibly gesticulating with every word.

Peter Pan Goes Wrong is an ensemble piece, and I really cannot fault any of its cast members. Particular credit is also due to all those working backstage on this production, who run the show smoothly, making sure that everything is shipshape from start to finish.

I would strongly recommend Peter Pan Goes Wrong as an ideal show for a fun evening out, but this does come with one caveat. I have a really silly sense of humour. I’m the kind of person who gets the giggles at something completely ridiculous, and laughs for half an hour straight. So, I am pretty easy to please when it comes to productions like this. Peter Pan Goes Wrong will appeal much less to those who find unsubtle, eye-roll worthy humour irritating.

As for age, the show will appeal to children and adults alike. It contains a sprinkling of jokes aimed specifically at those of us who, presumably unable to navigate to Neverland, have in fact grown up – but remains entirely appropriate for children. The age guidance for the production is 8+.


Peter Pan Goes Wrong will play at the Festival Theatre until 16 February 2020. Tickets and further information can be found at: https://www.capitaltheatres.com/whats-on/peter-pan-goes-wrong

For more information about Mischief Theatre and their other productions, visit: https://mischiefcomedy.com/


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