I am a keen theatre goer and usually try to make the most of my cultural trips with a nice meal beforehand. Maybe a few cheeky drinks. It’s such a treat and one of my favourite ways to relax. However, those trips can get quite pricey when you include the theatre tickets, travel and inevitable ice cream at the interval.
But thankfully over the past few years there has been a shift in how we access theatre. I’d argue that National Theatre Live is at the forefront of this trend with live cinema broadcasts of Opera, Ballet and Drama, of which some I have reviewed. They’ve undoubtedly helped Theatre reach a much further and wider audience than ever before. And thankfully, Television is starting to dabble in this cultural change too.
The first play I watched on Television was The Vote. It was on MoreFour, broadcast real-time with the 2015 General Election. I wrote about it here. I’ve also watched a couple of celebrity filled Musicals broadcast live from America, which approach this genre in a slightly different way again.
The BBC’s Version
So I was extremely excited to see that the BBC had given us a treat on News Year Eve, with another take on broadcasting Theatre with Peter Pan Goes Wrong.
The BBC did not air the live play direct from the West End as NTLive do. No instead, they moved the set to Pinewood Studios. Brought in a famous actor to narrate (the legendary Poirot). Cut the production time by 40 minutes and added special pre-recordings. And voila, you have the first BBC edition of Theatre broadcasting.
I must admit my one negative about the first Mischief Production, The Play That Goes Wrong, which I reviewed here, was that the second half was not as funny as the first. So I really enjoyed this faster paced and shorter version, which kept me interested and chuckling throughout.
The play opened with a quick documentary style piece that gave us a behind the scenes preview of the characters. The ending was also peppered with BBC show cameos as the boat crashed into the Egg Heads, BBC News and Teletubbies sets. I think it all gave a noticeable BBC stamp and provided a much more unique viewing experience.
Peter Pan Goes Wrong the Play
As the title states, Peter Pan goes wrong and I’d probably add another word to that, ‘catastrophically’. Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society present a panto that rings true to the plot but literally falls a part along the way with the set collapsing and actors corpsing.
Peter Pan flew like a drunk. Wendy was way more forward than I remembered. And Tinkerbell hip grinded like a pro. Nevermind the utterly shocking technical crew who failed to help throughout. The actors pulled off great slapstick routines with what looked like a complicated set full of tricks. There were so many hilarious bits and you can catch my immediate reactions in my tweet a long using #culturebean.
Theatre VS Television
Even though I love my day trips to the Theatre, it was a nice change to sit on my couch in the late afternoon. I could wear my Guardians of the Galaxy pyjamas with my hair up and teeth unbrushed to enjoy a play on the Tele. And a whole lot cheaper too. I only hope the BBC continue to produce these kinds of programmes. Not just so I can lounge about all day, but so more people are introduced to the theatrical world.
But you can’t take Culturebean away from her passion, so the act of visiting the Theatre to watch a show will always come out on top for me. There is just something so magical about the experience. How about you?
You just have to watch it on BBC iPlayer before it is removed at the end of January!
And find out more about Mischief Theatre and their other productions too