The Play that Goes Wrong
Theatre Royal Brighton
27th August – 1st September 2018
The Play that Goes Wrong | Review
The Play that goes Perfectly Right!
I was so thrilled to finally see the company that I have heard so much about, and their play that is known worldwide to critical acclaim. Yes that’s right, the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society were finally performing their first full cast production… Murder At Haversham Manor!
Having seen their amazing previous productions, such as Waiting For Godot, where the strap-line was “One Remote Tree. No Cast. Performance Ends at your Discretion”, I knew I was in for a real treat! I sat at that tree for 16 hours… it was one of the most immersive realistic performances I have seen to date and I only left because the police officer told me the park was closed overnight.
I jest of course. Although the story is centred around this murder-mystery, The Play That Goes Wrong is all about the hilarious moments surrounding an amateur dramatic company’s futile attempts to stage a straight play without anything going wrong.
As the play progresses the mistakes and the chaos ensues, with the destruction to the set and the characters growing more collateral throughout! The title for me is a wonderful irony, because where everything goes wrong it is so perfectly right. The huge set falls apart in all of the right places at the right times, leaving the audience gasping, laughing and in awe. It is one of the most impressive stages I have seen and the set designer Nigel Hook has done a phenomenal job in creating a multi-layered, dynamic and interactive experience.
Mischief Theatre present a thrilling comedy that is heaps of fantastic fun for the whole family. It was so refreshing to see how many families were in attendance having a great time and its an intergenerational play that audiences of all ages will love. There is a great engagement between the cast towards the audience, with open dialogues throughout and even an audience member getting up on stage to help with the set (to no avail of course). Although the whole cast were fantastic, my particular favourite character was Dennis the butler, played by Benjamin McMahon, as he was very quirky and peculiar in all of the right ways.
Despite it’s expertly timed tricks and impressive feats, the play doesn’t take itself too seriously which keeps everything naturally light-hearted and fun. In one moment the talented cast hook you into the murder-mystery, and in another they suck you into the destruction and madness which just gets funnier as it goes on.
Writers Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields have struck gold with this masterpiece, and it comes as no surprise to me that the play has won the Olivier and What’s On Stage award for Best New Comedy, as well as the Broadway award for Best New Play.
It’s fantastic that they have adapted this to go on tour after it’s original West End production, and I will be keeping my eyes peeled for their latest show The Comedy About A Bank Robbery, which comes to Brighton’s Theatre Royal on 13-17 November.
This fantastic show truly brought the house down.
Reviewer: Stephen Sheldrake