The Play That Goes Wrong- Duchess Theatre
As a theatre going sort, I often get a lot of pals ask me for advice on what shows to go and see with a non-theatre loving partner in tow. The kind of chap that would sooner wrestle a crocodile wearing nothing but pair of pink crocs than sit through Mamma Mia! At the moment, my go-to recommendation is without hesitation, The Play That Goes Wrong currently playing at The Duchess Theatre, for I’m yet to meet ANYONE who hasn’t laughed until they’ve ached at this utterly hilarious play-within-a-play. I went to see it again on Tuesday and by jove it just gets better and better.
The premise is thus: The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society are staging a production of a creaky old whodunnit, ‘The Murder at Havisham Manor’. As they embark on their opening night, everything goes wrong. No, but like, EVERYTHING goes wrong. The next two hours are spent in a whirlwind of forgotten lines, mistimed entrances, wrong props, falling set and fires. Things go from bad to worse, with characters being knocked out, techies having to stand in, and onstage fights between cast members. And it is HYSTERICAL.
Having grown up doing Am-Dram, so many of the situations were all too familiar. Perhaps the one I howled most at is the scene loop that the actors accidentally get stuck in, where the scene just repeats over and over again as they can’t find their way to the next scene. OH I KNOW THAT SITUATION SO WELL!
It’s a conceit that could quite quickly grow tedious, but the incredible cast members of Mischief Theatre are all totally on form as a razor sharp ensemble, going at the show with utter gung ho, playing hammy old amdrammers with aplomb. They are all, of course, completely gifted actors in their own right. Formed by a gang of LAMDA grads, Mischief Theatre took the improv scene by storm with their improvised movie show, Lights, Camera, Improvise (which I’ve caught a few times in Edinburgh and it’s also GREAT.) Three of their members then went on to write The Play That Goes Wrong, and it began life at a tiny pub theatre in Islington. After a couple of Edinburgh Festival stints, a run at Trafalgar Studios and a UK Tour the show is now housed for the foreseeable future at the Duchess, and won the Olivier for Best New Comedy earlier this year. THEM STARRY EYED LAMDA KIDS DONE GOOD!
I’ve been a huge fan ever since I saw it at Trafalgar studios and this was my FIFTH time seeing it and I got to the point where I was doing that laugh where you’re laughing so hard you sound like Muttley from Wacky Races. HOT.
Excitingly, the show has just announced that it’s extended until February 2016, so LITERALLY GO AND SEE IT if you want to laugh your pants off. Some of the actors have recorded a special trailer to promote the show, have a watch of this:
Might be an idea to pop a Tenalady in. There’s a good chance you will wet yourself laughing.
I was a guest of londontheatres.co.uk, but as always if I hadn’t laughed my tits off at the show, I wouldn’t have written about it!