Now it's Peter Pan that's going wrong at Theatre Royal Brighton
If you enjoyed The Play That Goes Wrong, you will love its latest incarnation, Peter Pan Goes Wrong.
Its premise is that the same amateur theatrical company which tackled a murder mystery so disastrously is now taking on the classic J M Barrie tale… and you can expect similar results.
The play sees the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society back on stage battling technical hitches, flying mishaps and cast disputes…
Patrick Warner, who appeared in The Play That Goes Wrong in the West End, is back as Francis for their attempt at Peter Pan which plays Theatre Royal Brighton from Tuesday to Sunday, November 19-24.
“If you have seen The Play That Goes Wrong, you will have met the cast,” Patrick says. “The idea is that it is the same group of actors. The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society are still at it despite their setbacks!
“They have learnt nothing! But they tried… and bizarrely they have managed to recruit a couple of new members. One of the director’s nieces is now in the company and is playing one of the Lost Boys despite suffering crippling stage fright…
“I am playing a chap called Francis who is… very enthusiastic. We shouldn’t talk in terms of good or bad. He is just very enthusiastic. And it is a really lovely show. It is a slightly more joyful evening than The Play That Goes Wrong, I would say. Despite everything that goes wrong, there is still a semblance of victory that is snatched from the jaws of defeat at the end of the show.”
As for the comedy, it is in a similar vein: “But if you can imagine the people that wrote The Play That Goes Wrong had such a success that it toured the country and ended up in the West End and then somebody said ‘Write another!’… so what do they do? They think ‘So what can go wrong?’ and so the set is much more complicated. There are lots more hazards and there are sound issues. They have incorporated sound and dance.
“I have got a lovely role where very occasionally I can catch my breath and work out where we are at, but the rest of the cast are extraordinary. They have had me in stitches in rehearsal.”
Inevitably, when you are orchestrating chaos, it has to be very, very precise and very, very technical: “The chaos has to be rehearsed to within an inch of its life!
“But actually, there are two kinds of things that can wrong. Just occasionally there is an accident and you have got to hope that the audience will just see it as part of the play and you can carry on.
“But the other thing that can happen is that something that is supposed to go wrong doesn’t go wrong… and then you have just got to carry on and wait for it to go wrong.
“What is wonderful about this show is that you have really got to be live in the moment. You have got to be in the moment obviously because it is happening now, but also you have really got to be live to what is happening and react to it. I always think that the audience is actually the final character in this piece. You have got to react to their reactions… And that’s great because it means that every show is just a bit different because every house is different.”
The touring cast includes Romayne Andrews (Dennis), Tom Babbage (Max), Georgia Bradley (Lucy), Connor Crawford (Chris), Katy Daghorn (Sandra), Phoebe Ellabani (Annie) and Ciaran Kellgren (Jonathan).