Play Reading in English – "Peter Pan Goes Wrong" by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields
Reading Group in Association with the ESU (HK)
- Mon 19-12-2016 7:15 PM - 2 h
“Peter Pan Goes Wrong” Contemporary Christmas Pantomime – Farce by Mischief Theatre, co-written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields
This play – currently highly popular with London audiences - is the sequel play to Mischief Theatre's surprise London West End hit production The Play that Goes Wrong, and, like its predecessor, also written by the drama school graduate team, it is a hilarious farce about an amateur drama production that goes spectacularly wrong. In spite of the various catastrophes caused by both actors and scenery the show must go on, and somehow the onstage and backstage team battle their way through to the end of J.M. Barrie's play version (he also wrote a novel version) of the story about the boy who never grows up and the girl named Wendy who falls for him. Again this is supposed to be a performance given by the fictitious Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society. The conventional special effects in the original Peter Pan, which include the boy hero flying across the stage, are the perfect ingredients for this amateur version's mishaps. Apparently, similar problems - though unintentional ones - afflicted the opening of Barrie's Peter Pan in 1920: it seems that the stage-hands bounced the actor playing Peter Pan, when he was wearing his requisite flying harness, off the walls of the theatre out of sight of the audience after he had been abusive toward them before the performance!
As with The Play that Goes Wrong, the spoof version of Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap which we read in September, we will need to read both script and stage directions to derive maximum humour from this parody version. These inept actors and productions also derive inspiration from Michael Green's extremely funny book, The Art of Coarse Acting, which recounts the misadventures of ham actors – so-called coarse actors - on stage. This play is a perfect example of metadrama - that is drama about stage drama. The same problems that were in evidence in The Play that Goes Wrong also occur here - collapsing stage sets, misplaced stage props, hopeless attempts to cover for bungled lines, and so on. These are compounded by offstage rivalries within the amateur company, involving competitive egos and the amateur actors' deep desire to succeed, which greatly exceeds their talent. Despite the visual nature of the comedy, we can appreciate the fun in our play-reading, because everything is scripted to 'go wrong', unlike many amateur productions of Peter Pan and other plays when things go wrong unscripted! There is a strong likelihood that Peter Pan Goes Wrong will be produced in Hong Kong in the not-too-distant future to judge by its popularity and potential for international tour.
Come and enjoy the play as a reading. All welcome. There is no need to read if you don't wish to. If you prefer, you are welcome just to listen. However, all who wish to read will have the opportunity to do so.