BWW Reviews: THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG, Wolverhampton Grand, April 29 2014
A play within a play is already a difficult concept - but a play within a play that goes wrong (in this case catastrophically so!) is ridiculously difficult to get your head around - but only from massive admiration for the actors who have to deliver such material. Mischief Theatre have written and conceived the aptly titled 'The Play That Goes Wrong' and the company are made up of predominantly LAMDA students who formed Mischief together in 2008.
The show focuses on Cornley Polytechnic, an amateur dramatic society who, by their own admission, are not the best at what they do...to put it lightly. However, their enjoyment for the craft - no matter how bad at acting they are - shines through. They put on a show entitled 'Murder at Haversham', a classic murder mystery with added farcical twists.
As a company with improvised comedy experience, the actors' skills are evident throughout when audience members heckled or shouted out. Each performer has their own persona; whether it be Cecil's surprised acknowledgement of the audience each time he gets an applause, Florence's thrusting around the stage or Perkins' blatant laughter whenever something goes wrong. None of the cast should be singled out as each person contributes a special something to the production.
The setting is Charles' home (the murder victim) and is built across two levels, his living room and his study upstairs. The structure slowly deconstructs throughout the duration of the play in hilarious circumstances of which there are far too many to mention! Nigel Hook's design is incredible as there are so many elements that need to be accounted for.
The success of the production is in the writing by company members: Henry Shields, Henry Lewis and Jonathan Sayer alongside the direction by Mark Bell. With so many gags crammed into a 2 hour 10 minute programme, it is possible for it to become repetitive to the point that you are almost immune to the humour. The reaction from the audience last night highlights that this is not the case with this script.
For a thoroughly enjoyable night out at the theatre, I would highly recommend 'The Play That Goes Wrong'. It is showing at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre until Saturday 3rd May and continues touring the country until July.