Detailed Synopsis (Spoiler alert)

Detailed Synopsis (Spoiler alert)


            A community-theatre troupe is set to perform Peter Pan. Chris, the show’s director, and the assistant director, Robert, announce to the audience that they’ve “managed to secure a much larger budget than usual thanks to a sizeable donation from the uncle of one of our cast members.” They describe some of the ill-executed shows they’ve put on in the past, but insist that Peter Pan will be an improvement on those productions. As the play-within-the-play opens, Francis (as Narrator, dressed in stereotypically Victorian costume) reads aloud from a large storybook, as Sandra, Max, Dennis (as the Darling children: Wendy, Michael, and John respectively) and John and Annie (as their parents) perform the first scene in the Darling home; Robert re-appears costumed as Nana, the family dog. Already mistakes and miscues ensue: Robert gets his head stuck in the doghouse door, requiring assistant stage managers to cut him loose; Annie ties Robert’s tie so tightly that he can barely breathe; and, as Annie tucks the children into bed, their triple bunk-bed collapses. After this, Jonathan enters (as Peter Pan)—crashing through the window, then yanked around wildly on his flight-enabling cord—searching for his missing shadow (Robert, in black lycra), with the aid of Tinker Bell (Annie). Wendy tries to help them re-unite: Jonathan, flailing around (ostensibly flying), accidentally kicks Robert out of the set window. Peter Pan invites Wendy and her brothers to return with him to Neverland, and offers to teach them to fly. En route, Jonathan smashes into the moon, which falls to the stage floor.

            The set revolves to show the forest of Neverland. Peter Pan introduces the Darling children to Tootles (Lucy, who speaks with a stutter), one of the Lost Boys. Then, Peter Pan catches sight of pirates: Capt. Hook (Chris), Mr. Smee (Dennis), Cecco (Francis), and Starkey (Robert). As Capt. Hook pledges to get revenge on Peter Pan for cutting off his arm, radio interference cuts in through the speaker; his hook also keeps falling off, prompting Chris to eventually just make a hook shape with his hand. When, for the next scene, the set revolves to what is supposed to be the mermaid grotto, it turns the wrong way, showing actors who are meant to be off-stage. After it finally turns the right direction, Peter Pan spots the pirates about to kill the princess Tiger Lily. Meanwhile, the actors playing the pirates forget, or stumble over, their lines. Peter Pan, pretending to be Capt. Hook, orders them to free Tiger Lily, which they do. When the real Capt. Hook enters, he is furious that his men let her go. Meanwhile, actors talking off-stage—about how Max had wanted to play Peter Pan, but wasn’t a good enough actor—are overheard, because they’ve forgotten to turn off their mics. Peter Pan then arrives to fight Capt. Hook. During the fight, they accidentally tear down a long strip of fabric from the set and become entangled in it. Jonathan drops suddenly from his fly-line, crashing down with a thud.


            Chris and Robert come out again (as themselves), to stall the beginning of Act II. They apologize for the technical difficulties, and explain that they are waiting for Jonathan to regain consciousness after his fall. Nevertheless, the second act begins, with Trevor, the Stage Manager, now filling in as Peter Pan, shoddily costumed and clearly terrified. Within a couple scenes, he steps on a loose wooden plank, which pops up and knocks him unconscious. Max then takes the Peter Pan hat and impulsively switches into the lead role, despite also playing the roles of Michael Darling and the crocodile that ate Capt. Hook’s hand. Over the speakers, Max argues with Chris about whether or not he can also play the Peter Pan role now that both Jonathan and Trevor have been knocked out.

            Luckily, Jonathan reappears to take over as Peter Pan. During the scene where Tinker Bell is supposed to drink the poison meant for Peter Pan, Annie trips over a loose wire and spills the “poison” on her electrical power pack, electrocuting her. The other cast members try to call for an ambulance, while Annie lies unconscious from the shock. Yet, after the “I believe in fairies” scene (which brings the character Tinker Bell back to life), Annie springs up, apparently okay. During the climactic fight between Peter Pan and Capt. Hook, a chair shoots out, knocking out Francis and injuring most others on-stage. Chris sobs on the floor. Nevertheless, they continue performing, as Wendy, Michael, and John bring the lost boys home to live with them. Lucy fills in for Francis as Narrator, reading out the story’s end. Chris, now as Mr. Darling again, embraces his children with the hook still taped to his hand. Jonathan and Robert (as Peter Pan’s shadow again) look in wistfully at this scene from the window, but Robert falls backwards on his ladder, concluding the performance with a final, painful crash.

Peter Pan Goes Wrong

By Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields
June 25–August 23, 2020
Granville Island Stage
Following hot on the wobbly heels of the box office hit The Play That Goes Wrong, Mischief Theatre brings its triumphant disaster Peter Pan Goes Wrong from London’s West End to North America. The members of the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society battle against technical hitches, flying mishaps, and cast disputes. Will they ever make it to Neverland?
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Posted on 18th Dec 2019