Tag Archives: Adam Meggido

Mischief Movie Night

reviewed at the Cambridge Arts Theatre on 19 June

Success has its flip side, and it’s very easy to access that. Improvisation can be hugely theatrically rewarding, as Adam Meggido’s Showstopper! productions demonstrate. Meggido is the consultant on Mischief Theatre’s successor to The Play That Goes Wrong and Peter Pan Goes Wrong.

Even with an ensemble used to working together, this is dangerous territory. Scripts can’t really an anchor-point for Mischief Movie Night, which relies on a sequence of cobbled-together to “improvise” a film based on the audience’s suggestions. “Plants” among us try to steer the whole thing, not always successfully.

We end up with a murder mystery set in a municipal baths. Corpses soon proliferate, as do nods in the direction of disaster movies and classics such as Psycho. Songs and dance also play their part. It’s all great fun, but at times you can see too much of the struggle behind the mirth.

After the interval we’re in easier territory – the tryout for an evening of magic. Needless to say, the self-proclaimed mind mangler makes a hash of his act, with the aid of audience volunteers. There’s also a girl in a box enacting a variety of creation myths while managing not to be sawn in half.

This part worked much better for me than the movie-manufacturing act. I felt that the performers were much more in control of their material so able to draw the audience into the joke more subtly. After all, a joke is only funny if evenly shared.

Three and a half-star rating.

Mischief Movie Night continues at the Cambridge Arts Theatre until 23 June with matinées on 21 and 23 June.

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Peter Pan Goes Wrong
(reviewed at the Arts Theatre, Cambridge on 7 April 2015)

Anyone who has ever been involved, even indirectly through a friend or family member, Knows that amateur productions – especially those of the more ambitious kind – have a terrible propensity to come adrift. This successor to The Play That Goes Wrong. one of last year’s most resounding successes, gives us more of the same.

Adam Meggido’s production of the script by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields begins a good quarter of an hour before the official start time with three overworked stage crew members from the Cornley Polytechnic Dramatic Society frantically trying to sort out last-minute hitches both back-stage and front-of-house.

These include securing wobbly seats and attempting to finalise the lighting and sound-system cues. When the curtain rises it is to reveal a set on a self-willed revolve (another recipe for disaster, brilliantly conceived by Simon Scullion) and a distinct lack of co-ordination between the show’s narrator (an increasingly tetchy Harry Kershaw), stage management and the over-ambitious special effects.

All the amateur actors have taken the art of preen to its limits.This applies especially to Leonie Hall’s Wendy (she’s had ballet classes and it determined never to let us forget it) the multi-cast Naomi Sheldon (try doubling Mrs Darling, the maid Lisa and obstreperous Tinker Bell) and our hero (Alex Bartram). he’s someone who may have mastered the art of seduction but definitely is a novice at flight.

Laurence Pears has the usual double of uptight Mr Darling (all that rage about a lost cuff-link!) and the would-be debonair Captain Hook. It won’t surprise you to hear that Hook loses his prosthesis, as well as his wig and his hat several times over. Oh yes, as well his footing when his ship fails to moor itself at the correct angle and the revolve, not to mention the flats, take on a perverse life of their own.

The cast thoroughly enjoy themselves while never failing to let us all in on the joke. Pears and Bartram are the funniest of the men, run a close second by Cornelius Booth as a bearded Michael (don’t ask!) and hapless Matt Cavendish as the lad whose family is financing the show but still finds himself relegated to the non-speaking roles of the dog and the crocodile. But all comes right (well, sort of) in the end. Great fun.

Peter Pan Goes Wrong plays at the Arts Theatre Cambridge until 12 April and at the Theatre Royal, Norwich 11 to 16 May.

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