JAY Laga’aia is on board for any show that has its full description in the title, so he immediately put his hand up when he heard West End comedy Peter Pan Goes Wrong was being mounted in Australia and New Zealand.
He was just not prepared for the physicality that was to follow.
“I had seen a BBC special and knew there was a narrator’s role in it, which was great because I didn’t want to be thrown around or banged up,” Laga’aia said.
“I wanted to be the narrator so I looked good, I sounded good and I didn’t get hurt. Man, was I mistaken about that one.
“I’m padded up but it’s always a laugh because once you realise you need padding, you’re already bruised. Every night I get up in a pool of sweat.”
Seven of Laga’aia’s cast mates were part of the 2017 tour of The Play That Goes Wrong, a play within a play presented by amateur theatre group The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society.
These colourful characters return with Sydney-based Laga’aia, as The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society present a production of Peter Pan while again battling with technical hitches and flying mishaps to disastrous and hilarious effect.
“For us every night is meant to be opening night, so if you’ve ever been to school concerts or amateur theatre, you’ll recognise these characters where nothing is working right,” he said.
“For me, my role is simply the straight guy who, like in many amateur theatres brings in a celebrity, but he only rehearses five times with the rest of them because he’s so busy.
“He assumes all these things are going to happen like in normal theatre and then as the whole thing unfolds, my reaction to everything going wrong is, ‘what, but I thought?’.
“It’s hilarious because I’ve been in situations like that. It’s one of those shows that allow you to break all the rules of theatre.
“Ultimately, we get to see the story of Peter Pan from the beginning to the end. The issue is the trials and tribulations of getting it to Neverland and back again.”
What: Peter Pan Goes Wrong
Where: His Majesty’s Theatre
When: March 7 to 17