The Play That Goes Wrong is terribly good

Now that the holiday decorations are put away (they are put away, right?) and we’re settling into the coldest months of the year, it’s time to find ways to keep ourselves from slipping into winter hibernation mode. A good dose of laughter is what we need to get us through the bitter months and The Play That Goes Wrong has just the right remedy to shake us out of our cocoons. The Broadway Tony Award-winning comedy is now playing at the Ed Mirvish Theatre until February 10, 2019.

The Play That Goes Wrong National Tour. Photo by Jeremy Daniel
Photo: Jeremy Daniel

It’s terribly good because everything goes wrong. The Play That Goes Wrong is set up to be the worse day in a stage production. Everything that could possibly goes wrong does…and more. One could only imagine the visionaries of this production sitting around bouncing the worse case scenarios on stage and breathing them into life. How fun! As we sit back and be entertained, we soon realize that the execution of this non-stop entertaining play can’t miss a beat. Even if there were natural mistakes would masking them be easier, or not? We’d love to know.

Every member of the production is involved in the storyline from set design, stage handlers, sound technicians, orchestra, actors, and director. It all starts as the audience streams into the theatre to find their seats. No, back up… It actually starts with the production’s official program. Worth reading.

The Cornley University Drama Society presents their play The Murder at Haversham Manor — a “whodunnit” mystery case with all the usual suspects including the hired help, the gold-digger, the inspector, and family members of the deceased. Chris Bean (Evan Alexander Smith – reminds us of a younger version of John Cleese) who’s President of the society who also is the director and actor preps the audience. There are no big surprises with the murder mystery but the storyline strings the overall play along. Advance apologies made and giggles break out in the audience as we buckled into our seats for a roller coaster ride.

The set design looks oddly off. Purposely of course. The touring company didn’t quite get the measurements right to fit into the the Ed Mirvish Theatre so they’ll work with what they’ve got. Stressed out the Stage Manager, Annie (Angela Grovey) attempts to keep things together. Things go from bad to worse. Forgotten lines and mis-pronounced words, pre-occupied stage technician (Brandon J. Ellis) who’s love for 80s pop is hilarious, props that don’t work, injuries, a lost supporting furry actor and more. Max, who’s the brother of the deceased (Ned Noyes) in the play, has some of the best moments with his character’s distracted love for the limelight. But the show must go on! It’s one big night of comical errors.

The Play That Goes Wrong was co-written by Mischief Theatre company members Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields.  The Olivier Award-winning theatre company was founded in 2008 by a group of graduates of The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) and began as an improvised comedy group. Mischief Theatre performs across the UK and internationally with improvised and original scripted work.

The Play That Goes Wrong is a rags-to-riches story for a play which started its life at a London fringe venue with only four paying members of the public at the first performance, and has gone on to play to an audience of over 2 million people around the world.

Awarded the 2015 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, 2014 WhatsOnStage Best New Comedy and 2015 UK BroadwayWorld Best New Play Awards, The Play That Goes Wrong is now in its fourth year in the West End, is currently on a 30 week UK tour and playing on six continents.  The production also received a Tony Award for Best Set Design,’s Audience Choice Award for Best Play, and the Theater Fans Choice Award for Best Play.

It’s not only a fun night outing but a reminder that no matter how bad things seem to get, we need to persevere and keep moving forward. Just remember to laugh along the way.

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