The Play That Goes Wrong | Theatre Review
Last week I really needed a laugh so I took myself off to see The Play That Goes Wrong the first play concocted by the Mischief Theatre group.
I’ve seen The Comedy About a Bank Robbery and Mischief Movie Night but this was the one I was most interested in seeing having already watched the first few minutes on YouTube – when they performed at the Variety show.
It was utterly hilarious. Proper slapstick comedy at its best with a real charm behind it.
The storyline is that a Polytechnic Drama Society have landed on the West End – by some mistake – and are putting on a ‘serious’ play called The Murder at Haversham Manor. But as the name suggests, anything that can goes wrong in a play goes wrong. From the useless technical director to the female lead being knocked out on stage to the stage falling apart.
The cast were great, not quite up to the comical timing of the Mischief set – but who is?! But without that comparison they were excellent.
I went on my own and that didn’t take away from the experience, although I imagine having someone to laugh with you could add to it.
The only issue I had was that I was sat next two a mother, her sister and her two young children. The children did not get all of the jokes and were constantly asking ‘why are they laughing?’ This is not a pantomime, this is a comedy. Children can enjoy it but this is classic slapstick, like Laurel and Hardy, not the Dame and seven dwarves.
I think I preferred Mischief Movie Night to The Play That Goes Wrong but I think in part that it because it was improv and every night was different. Also there was no let-up in the hilarity when with a play there are always moment that are tired compared to others.
I think the hilarity highlights for me were:
There were two scenes regarding the phone – which always rang at the most inconvenient times, – and the best joke was when the group ‘improvised’ the phone reaching to the other side of the stage by holding hands and stretching. It was very well done.
Knocking Out the Lead Actress
This scene is my favourite and can be watched on YouTube as this is the scene that the group performed at the Variety show. The stupidity of someone shouting ‘calm down, you’re hysterical’ at an unconscious woman still makes me chuckle.
During one of the scenes a cast member moves a ledger from behind a cushion to beneath the sofa to sit down but one of the other ‘actors’ needs this prop during a later scene and his meltdown when he can’t find it is brilliant. He ends up screaming a LEDGER! Bursts into tears, screams at the audience, destroys part of the set and ultimately finds it and carries on as if nothing has happened. Very silly.
There were plenty of others, and too many to name. There was magic involved, character changes, ‘stage-hands’ filling in for cast members and even audience members being dragged on-stage to rebuild it.
It was great and well worth the £23 I spent on the tickets. I can’t wait to go again – or see the next Mischief Production: Groan Ups!