The Play that Goes Wrong at Trafalgar Studios
The play in question is a production of the 1920s mystery Murder at Haversham Manor, put on by the inept and clumsy Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society, and brought to life here by Mischief Theatre Company.
The head of the fictional society explains at the start that they aim to take the production to the Edinburgh Festival. However, despite the unfortunate cast’s sincerest efforts, it soon becomes clear that – as the title suggests – everything that could possibly go wrong will, and the troupe are bound only for a full-blooded, irreversible and side-splittingly funny disaster.
We’ve come to expect good things from the award-winning Mischief Theatre Company and The Play that Goes Wrong doesn’t disappoint. Although the humour comes mostly from slapstick, sight gags and one-liners, the cast’s timing and tone under the direction of Mark Bell are absolutely spot on, and it makes for excellent comedy. It really doesn’t matter that half the time we know exactly what’s coming; it just makes it all the more funny.
The set falls apart, the actors are injured, a fire is narrowly avoided, props are misplaced and at one point the play even finds itself in a kind of nightmarish loop. It is Pythonesque, but with the outrageousness of Bottom or anything else starring Rick Mayall. It’s no exaggeration to attest that the audience are in hysterics almost continuously, with several surely close to crying out for mercy by the glorious finale.
The play was first presented under the title The Murder before Christmas at the Old Red Lion Theatre in late 2012, before changing its name and transferring to Trafalgar Studios on 30th April with minimal cast changes. It’s hard to imagine there’s a funnier play running at the moment and its move to the West End will undoubtedly prove successful.
The Play that Goes Wrong is fun and hilarious. A must see for anyone wishing for an hour’s worth of absolutely riotous, all-stops-out, charming comedy.
Photos: Federica Frezza and Alisha Hahmed
The Play that Goes Wrong is at Trafalgar Studios until 18th May 2013. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.