From the makers of the wildly popular “The Play That Goes Wrong”, comes a new romp of theatrical mishaps surrounding an amateur production of J.M. Barrie’s classic, “Peter Pan” called “Peter Pan Goes Wrong.” And wrong is putting it mildly. Emmy winning actor, Bradley Whiford, who cheekily tells the audience he’s only doing this because of the strike, eliciting rousing cheers from the supportive Los Angeles audience, plays a member of the “Cornley Drama Society” who acts as narrator of the proceedings. He enters on what becomes a progressively unreliable moving chair, throws fairy dust on himself and introduces the characters, and we’re off for an evening of a play going completely off the rails.
If you love the tradition of British Panto mixed with a Benny Hill sensibility for physical comedy then this is your cup of tea and then some. I would say it’s a PG-13 with something for everyone in the family and even kids under 13 were in attendance opening night and loving it – with most likely some of the more mature jokes going over their heads.
The leader of this amateur drama society playing both “father” and Captain Hook, is played with absolute relish by Henry Shields, having a ball engaging the audience as Hook and taking squeezing out a sliver of a door opening to spectacular heights as Mr. Darling. Nancy Zamnit is hysterical in her melodrama as Mrs. Darling while pulling off a dizzying feat of costume changes to also play the maid and a sassy Tinkerbell. Henry Lewis gets the most out of the sight gags of being a man of a certain stature playing Nana the dog, Peter Pan’s shadow and a blustering pirate. There are various relationships happening between the actors involving obsessions, romance and nepotism, creating much behind the scenes tensions. Charlie Russell is an eager and oddly sexy ingenue as Wendy, while Greg Tannahill must endure endless flying mishaps as Peter. Johnathan Sayer as John is a new actor who can’t remember a single line so must be fed them through earphones and Matthew Cavendish is sweet and charming as an earnest wannabe actor relegated to playing Michael and the alligator but longs to play Peter Pan. The cast is rounded out by a fantastic company of actors willing to take a fall, run for their lives, or fly through the air for the sake of the show going on! I don’t want to give really anything away so suffice it to say, go into it expecting to see “Peter Pan” and let the hilarity ensue.
“Peter Pan Goes Wrong” now playing at the Ahmanson Theatre, 135 North Grand Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90012 through September 10, 2023. Guest stars Bradley Whitford through August 27 and Daniel Dae Kim August 30 – September 10. Tickets at CenterTheatreGroup.org or call (213) 628-2772 or in person at the box office at The Music Center.