Mischief Theatre’s The Play That Goes Wrong

★★★★★ 

Review by Rhys Scrivener

The Play that Goes Wrong follows the exploits of the Cornley Polytechnic Amateur Dramatics Society as they tackle their latest production Murder at Haversham Manor, a 1920’s murder mystery – dun dun dun! The actors are rubbish, the script is dire, the set is a death trap and everything that can go wrong does go wrong – and that is the whole point of the disastrous fictitious show within the brilliant actual show.

The Review

Make sure you get to your seat early so you don’t miss the pre-show shenanigans but more importantly you have time to read the hilarious programme. Never have I laughed so much before a show has even started.

From the humble openings of this show in a room above the Old Red Lion Pub in North London in 2013 this show has it all for a night out. Which is one of the reasons it is still running strong in the West End, has moved to Broadway and has been translated into numerous languages as this infectious production spreads across the globe. Another reason is the shear brilliance and imagination of the original three founding members of the Mischief Theatre Company, Jonathan Sayer, Henry Lewis and Henry Shields who have developed the magic formula of the perfect script. The direction of Mark Bell ensures the balance of the show is maintained throughout every hilarious twist and turn.

Photo Credit Helen Murray

Its tremendous cast showed a stratospheric level of skill and professionalism and an unbelievable level of dexterity and athleticism with the end result more akin to a complex ballet than a farce in its precision and delivery. A mix of The Mousetrap, Laurel and Hardy and Frank Spencer, if that is not too difficult to imagine.

Continuous laughter

With such a talented and well rehearsed cast it is difficult to mention anyone in particular. Jason Callender as the murder victim has a real presence even though he had only one line (delivered numerous times). Meg Mortell as Florence Colleymore for the incredible scene through the window and Patrick Warner and Adam Byron for their craftsmanship in the first-floor office scene. The audience were left in awe with gasps between the continuous laughter at the amazing timing and cast interaction leaving them to wonder how much could really have gone wrong.

Having seen the show several times I was worried about the transfer from the intimate setting of the Duchess Theatre to the larger Mayflower Theatre and though this changed the dynamic and pace of the show to allow the larger audience time to laugh, these concerns were in the whole unjustified.

Photo Credit Helen Murray

With the amount of effort and energy the cast put into the performance it is astonishing that they are near the end of their UK and Ireland tour that started in January with only Malvern, Plymouth and Canterbury to go.

A true 5-star must-see performance so grab the last remaining tickets. An additional performance has been added on Wednesday the 12th of July at 2pm. Running at The Mayflower Theatre Southampton until 15th July then continuing its tour.

The Mousetrap watch out – The Play That Goes Wrong will be taking your long running record!

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