Luke Joslin laughed when I asked, “Didn’t you learn from last time?”
Luke Joslin appeared in the Australian premiere of The Play That Goes Wrong to great critical acclaim. The play was about an amateur theatre company – The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society- putting on the murder mystery, The Murder at Haversham Manor, where everything went wrong. Anyone who saw The Play That Goes Wrong would remember the very physical demands placed on the cast – and in particular, on Luke Joslin, as his character tried to make a phone call whilst juggling multiple falling objects. It was a hilarious moment in the play – but this “persistence gag” was very physically demanding for Joslin to perform eight shows a week.
Joslin admitted there were moments doing this challenging stunt where he was asking himself, “What are you doing, you’re not a young man anymore!”
Despite this, he’s back for more in Peter Pan Goes Wrong.
“I’m back! I’m still bruised. I’m still sore! No, I’m back, I’m back, but this one’s a bit easier for me as opposed to the first one. The first one nearly killed me!” he laughed.
Thankfully for Joslin, Peter Pan Goes Wrong is physically a little easier.
“This one is more bearable, although there is a moment, which I won’t give away, but there is a moment where I just check my neck to make sure there’s no kinks, but it’s much more bearable,” he explained.
In Peter Pan Goes Wrong, The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society have returned to stage J M Barrie’s classic tale of Peter Pan. Fans of The Play That Goes Wrong will be delighted to learn that six of the Australian cast have returned to reprise their roles in Peter Pan Goes Wrong: Darcy Brown, Francine Cain, Adam Dunn, George Kemp, Jordan Prosser, Tammy Weller and of course, Luke Joslin. New to the cast are Jay Laga’aia, Connor Crawford, Teagan Wouters, Matt Whitty and Jessie Yates.
There are numerous reasons why so many of the original cast have reunited after the success of The Play That Goes Wrong.
“It’s infectious! I said about the first one, you’ve never heard laughter like it, so that’s sort of infectious and it’s such a great company to work for and the fellow actors, they’re just really good fun. So I think it’s a combination of things. It was an easy decision to make, really, because you just don’t get that sort of laughter in many things. I find this show very funny, not that the first one wasn’t, the first one was funny, but there are some moments where the audience just lose their minds,” explained Joslin.
It helps that the audience is already familiar with the story of Peter Pan and iconic characters like Peter Pan, Captain Hook and Tinkerbell. Within Peter Pan Goes Wrong is the full play of Peter Pan.
“There is a play in there. You can look at in its entirety, it’s just a few obstacles get in the way. It’s good fun!”
While Peter Pan Goes Wrong is jam-packed with hilarious moments, there are some highlights for Luke Joslin.
“There is a moment – I don’t want to give it away – but let’s say the bunk beds malfunction and that always gets an enormous reaction, because it’s so unexpected,” revealed Joslin.
Joslin explained the key to the success of Peter Pan Goes Wrong is the shock element that comes from the unexpected technical gags, whereas The Play That Goes Wrong was more about persistence gags.
There is now a strong fanbase after the success of The Play That Goes Wrong.
“People know the brand so they come expecting certain things. So we have a bit of a following already – they come informed and knowing the brand,” explained Joslin.
Peter Pan Goes Wrong is attracting a much broader audience, with everyone from grandparents to grandkids coming along, as well as the usual theatre goer.
Despite the title implying that things will definitely go wrong, some audience members are still left wondering if these mishaps were intended.
Besides playing the role of Robert Grove, the Co/Assistant Director of the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’s production of Peter Pan, Luke Joslin is also the Resident Director for Peter Pan Goes Wrong.
Joslin was sitting in the audience to watch a performance of Peter Pan Goes Wrong a few weeks ago in Wellington, New Zealand, and happened to be sitting in front of a young boy and his father. Joslin said the young boy kept leaning over to his Dad and asking, “Was that meant to happen?” and his Dad was replying with, “I think so, I’m not sure!”
“There’s a moment (in the play) when I can see the audience quite clearly, but they can’t see me – and I’m scanning them for a good 15-20 seconds whilst this stuff is going on and you just see the reactions from people and sometimes people are leaning over to each and asking, ‘Was that supposed to happen, was that a mistake?’” said Joslin.
Peter Pan Goes Wrong has a considerable number of technical elements, which of course, go wrong. The skill of the actors is to look shocked by what is taking place.
Another highlight for Joslin is the pre-show “warmup”. From the moment the doors open, there is something happening. Arrive at the theatre early and take your seat as soon as the doors are open.
“The audience love that. There’s not a moment of rest!”
It all adds up to a fun night out of pure entertainment for all ages.
Peter Pan Goes Wrong is now playing at the Playhouse at Arts Centre, Melbourne until January 27th before touring to Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney and Perth.
For more details: https://peterpangoeswrong.com.au