The Play That Goes Wrong

Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields

Mischief Theatre

Pleasance Courtyard

From 31 July 2013 to 26 August 2013

Rating: *****

Review by Robin Strapp

The Play That Goes Wrong is a hysterical study of all the possible things that could go wrong in an amateur dramatic theatrical production. As we arrive in the theatre the stage management are trying to repair a wonky set and dramatic music is loudly played to set the mood.

The accident-prone Cornley Polytechnic Dramatic society is producing the ambitious 1920s murder mystery Murder at Haversham Manor.

Chris, the arrogant head of the drama society, has decided to direct the piece himself as well as choosing the leading role of the dynamic police inspector.

As the title suggests, everything that can go wrong does. Doors don’t open, sound cues are late, props go missing, actors are knocked out and the harassed stage manager has to take over the leading lady’s role, reading from the script.

Lines are forgotten, prompts are late and in the end the set collapses in spectacular style with perfect comic timing.

Perkins, the totally inept butler who gets his words confused, serves white spirit rather than whisky with sidesplitting results.

The romantic interest is provided by wannabe actress Sandra, who plays the heroine and hypes up the sex appeal with the doting Max.

The acting is over-the-top, melodramatic madness and it’s a wonderful romp. I have never laughed out loud so much or enjoyed myself more at a show for ages. Not to be missed, it is hilarious.