Alex Bartram chats about Peter Pan Goes Wrong

The Lowry is hosting a Christmas production where going wrong is celebrated in the mould of Michael Frayn’s ”Noises Off.” We chat to actor, Alex Bartram to find out more.

Alex Bartram
Alex Bartram

What's it like being in a play where things are meant to go wrong?

Well, it's a lot of fun. There's a really satisfying sense of enjoyment (we hope!) in seeing people struggle against the odds and really try to make something work when everything around them is descending into chaos… And of course we all enjoy a bit of old fashioned slapstick. We also have the luxury of getting away with it a bit when things really do go wrong, though as true professionals we all try and make sure that they go right as much as they can. Which of course means that they go wrong as much as they can…

Like Noises Off, then? is it really exhausting to pull off?

It certainly is! Noises Off is a really good reference as in a similar way there's two stories happening in our show: the story of Peter Pan and the story of the actors in Cornley Polytechnic who are putting on Peter Pan, and how their off-stage relationships and agendas spill on to the stage. So you're sort of doing two plays at once, while generally leaping about, dancing, flying and trying to avoid whichever bit of the set has gone wrong next. It definitely keeps us on our toes.

What does this production offer to an audience as alternative Festive Fare?

We're very much hoping that the story of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan is there alongside the laughs and disasters, so I'd say it brings you the magic of Neverland alongside a good helping of Monty Python-esque silliness and Laurel & Hardy, Buster Keaton style slapstick. Come and laugh at people falling off stuff! What could be more Christmassy than that..

How are you enjoying it so far?

Very much so. We've had a really lovely reception from our audiences so far and it's great getting those laughs and knowing that people are enjoying your pain when it all goes wrong! And as the character I'm playing, Jonathan, plays Peter Pan I'm getting to try lots of things I've never done before like flying.

What challenges does the piece provide for you?

As is probably clear by now it's a pretty physical show so staying on top of all that certainly keeps you fit. And as I mentioned, just now the flying's new for me so that's been a challenge, but a lot of fun to learn. Trying to remember your lines while you're hanging upside down a long way from the ground and banging into things is a new one for me…

How would you sum the show up to encourage people to come along?

Oh, it's got everything – disaster, triumph, love, betrayal, laughs, a sprinkling of magic dust, and a talking dog. If the peace and calm of a family Christmas is getting too much for you, come and join us for some chaos!

Peter Pan Goes Wrong is at the Lowry from 16 December – 11 January.