Touring – reviewed at Brighton Theatre Royal
In a wonderful case of life imitating art I have now, at the third time of trying, finally made it along to see The Play That Goes Wrong, a show that has done its best to elude me both in the West End and around the UK despite my best efforts to catch it. Now I’ve made it to the cosy Theatre Royal Brighton, let’s find out if the show lives up to expectations.
It takes a huge amount of skill to act badly. Even more so to do it in a way that is both consistently entertaining and manages to fit in with a show that is incredibly technically demanding, but somehow Mischief Theatre consistently achieves both the funniest “bad acting” you’re likely to see on stage and a sense of utter chaos amid some intricately choreographed set pieces.
The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’s ambitious murder mystery might seem rather too lavish for an amateur drama production, but any regular visitor to their local societies will have seen sets too expansive to be entirely safe given the lack of budget (and appropriate building skills) which leave the audience quietly nervous that they may collapse at any moment.
Of course, the real skill on display from the cast of The Play That Goes Wrong is making every joke land perfectly despite the piece being so well known that almost every action is expected. They do so with aplomb, from corpses who keep reacting to the situation around them to hastily recast leading ladies, overblown choreography and a set that seems to have its own opinion of the piece, the cast sells everything perfectly.
There’s not a weak link on display but special mention must go to Jake Curran’s plummy actor/director, desperately trying to keep the play headed in the right direction amid the chaos around them, Bobby Hirston whose facial expressions alone are worth the ticket price and Catherine Dryden whose shy stage manager somehow holds the set together before getting a taste for the footlights.
If you haven’t seen this show yet get yourself along to Brighton or catch one of the other tour dates, I can promise you a laugh-a-minute treat!
For more information or to check when this show visits your area head to www.theplaythatgoeswrong.com/uk-tour