Review Roundup: The National Tour of THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG
After a successful first year playing in over 25 North American cities and recouping its investment in just 15 weeks, The Play That Goes Wrong continues across North America for the 2019-2020 season, playing over 35 new markets. For a complete list of tour stops, visit BroadwayGoesWrong.com.
The tour features Jason Bowen as Trevor, Todd Buonopane as Dennis, Chris French as Jonathan, Bianca Horn as Annie, Jacqueline Jarrold as Sandra, Chris Lanceley as Chris, Adam Petherbridge as Max, and Michael Thatcher as Robert. The cast also includes Brock Bivens, Shelley Fort, Jemma Jane, and Conor Seamus Moroney.
The National Tour began its run in Washington D.C and has traveled to Toronto, Detroit, Denver, and more!
Let's see what the critics are saying...
Nelson Pressley, The Washington Post: As physical comedy, it's Olympics-grade, and the two hours go at a perpetual sprint. Tour director Matt DiCarlo's cast is strongly to type - Brandon J. Ellis as a burly, dour stage manager; Jamie Ann Romero as a fluttery ingénue; the mellifluous Peyton Crim as the ingénue's arch brother; Ned Noyes as an actor who ignites once he thinks the audience likes him; Scott Cote as an actor who mispronounces words such as "facade"; Yaegel T. Welch as an unusually lively murder victim; Angela Grovey as a stagehand who gets roped into the action; and Evan Alexander Smith as the troupe's apprehensive leader and the murder mystery's detective. Nobody misses a beat as the spit-takes pile up. Is the show a match for you? As long as you're in the mood for an exploding cigar.
Andra Abramson, DC Metro Theater Arts: The characters are listed in the playbill as both the characters they play in The Play That Goes Wrong and the characters they will play in "The Murder at Haversham Manor." For example, Jamie Ann Romero plays Sandra Wilkinson (her name in The Play That Goes Wrong), and Sandra Wilkinson plays Florence Colleymoore, a character in "The Murder at Haversham Manor." I can only hope that as a reviewer I successfully identify each of these outstanding actors by the correct name as each member of the ensemble cast add his or her own unique stamp to this excellent show.
The cast includes Evan Alexander Smith as the "Director" (and practically every other behind the scenes role in the production) and Inspector Carter; the audience-loving Ned Noyes as Cecil Haversham and Arthur the Gardener; and Jamie Ann Romero as Florence Colleymoore, the cheating fiancee of the supposedly murdered Charles Haversham (Yaegel T. Welch). When she comes to after being knocked out, she has to literally fight the stage manager, Annie (Angela Grovey) corralled as her stand in who starts to enjoy her role a bit too much. Perkins, the butler (Scott Cote), is prone to mispronouncing certain words to hilarious effect. "Florence's brother," Thomas Colleymoore is played by Peyton Crim whose deep voice and deadpan delivery in the most physically awkward of circumstances is marvelous. Rounding out the cast is the the Duran Duran loving, lighting and sound operator, Trevor (Brandon J. Ellis), who is also roped into an unexpected stand-in role. In these challenging times, "The Play That Goes Wrong" is just what the doctor ordered.
Christopher Henley, DC Theatre Scene:
This show has been compared to Michael Frayn's Noises Off and Tom Stoppard's The Real Inspector Hound, but a comparison is unfair to those superior predecessors, which ask more of themselves, and of their audiences; they have an internal consistency - and a thematic agenda - absent here. But, of course, none of these criticisms really matter as far as The Play That Goes Wrong is concerned. The intention is not to craft a serious comedy (pardon the seeming oxymoron) but to have a lark with a skit premise.
Taylor Long, BroadwayWorld: THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG has to be the loudest I've ever heard a Toronto audience laugh. The hilarious farce has captured the essence of what most theatre professionals spend their lives fearing. It takes the unpredictable nature of live theatre and exaggerates the hell out of it.
Sonya Davidson, Toronto Guardian: It's terribly good because everything goes wrong. The Play That Goes Wrong is set up to be the worse day in a stage production. Everything that could possibly goes wrong does...and more. One could only imagine the visionaries of this production sitting around bouncing the worse case scenarios on stage and breathing them into life. How fun! As we sit back and be entertained, we soon realize that the execution of this non-stop entertaining play can't miss a beat. Even if there were natural mistakes would masking them be easier, or not? We'd love to know.
Karen Fricker, The Star: Spit-takes, dialogue loops, malfunctioning stage machinery, any number of blunt objects smacking actors unconscious: the show repeats all of these to a relentless extent that not everyone will find humorous, but the night I attended it was hard to spot the naysayers amongst the crowd laughing its head off.
Quincy Snowdon, Sentinel Colorado: If this show is wrong, this reviewer doesn't wanna be right. From the opening miscue to the final pratfall, the touring production of "The Play That Goes Wrong" at Denver's Buell Theatre elicited one of the most impressive cross-sections of breathy chortles, ear-piercing cackles and rib-crushing snickers Denver theater buffs may ever have been subjected to.
Timothy Shawver, BroadwayWorld: I may never have heard so much laughter in Gammage Auditorium as I did last night. THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG, the play-within-play by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields, demonstrates over and over why stage comedy will always surpass film: the art of holding for laughs. An audience can enjoy any comedy (stage or film) so much that they curb their laughs in an effort to not miss a line. Often, a brilliant comedy first viewed in a movie theater has noticeably more humor in the Netflix viewing as many of the best moments were previously drowned out by high-volume crowd laughter. Really skillful holding can even be funnier than the joke itself. (Think Eddie Izzard.) This masterful eight-person cast uses that tool and dozens of others to have the audience laughing at length for a full evening of much needed comic escapism.
D.L Groover, Houston Press: In case you're wondering, farce is very much alive. Traipse to the Hobby - one does not walk to a farce - and exercise your funny bone with The Play that Goes Wrong. It's a workout.
Wei-Huan Chen, Houston Chronicle: One realizes England's theater culture has been much more welcoming of the lowbrow. Everyday Americans, on the other hand, are often afraid of the theater, assuming it's "not for them." "The Play That Goes Wrong" is a refreshing change of course. And its success proves that, more than anything else, audiences want to laugh. It doesn't matter if the premise stinks, as long as the execution is so over-the-top that, well, the entire night balances out to a solid B-minus.
Kansas City, MO
Bob Evans, KC Applauds" target="_blank">Bob Evans, KC Applauds: The cast for the national tour of "The Play that Goes Wrong" perfectly times each prank, door slamming, and planned miscue but react like they have never seen it before. The acting is perfection in action.
Michael Grossberg, The Columbus Dispatch: Laughs are legion in "The Play That Goes Wrong." Those familiar with the twists, turns and melodramatic clichés of the British murder mystery are likely to smile, chuckle and guffaw the most at the Broadway in Columbus national tour, which opened Tuesday at the Palace Theatre.
The show is nonstop humor, most aptly described as a combination of the nonsensical and sometimes irreverent approach of Monty Python and the classic slapstick style of The Three Stooges. The writing is witty and clever, and the staging is flawless. After all, as counter-intuitive as it might seem, it's tough to pull off that level of pandemonium without being meticulously choreographed. Similarly the scenery seems unassuming enough at first glance. But as mayhem mounts, you gain a true appreciation for the intricacies of the set design.
As the lights came up for intermission last night at the Orpheum Theatre, the person behind me turned to their companion and said, "Wow! I don't know the last time I laughed so hard!" Many similar comments were voiced by different audience members as I made my way out the back of the theatre and off to the PNC Encore Lounge. The Play That Goes Wrong is not a show to see if you've just had an appendectomy, did Ab Day at the gym, or anything else that might cause two hours of continuous belly laughter to be a painful experience.
Cybele Pomeroy, BroadwayWorld: If you're fond of farce, hunting for hilarity, all about actors acting, interested in irreverence, longing for laughter or titillated by tech, get it right and go to THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG. Being left out of the fun would be an awful shame.
There is wordplay and a few snickering witticisms, but the perfectly timed slam-bang collisions draw the big laughs in the show. Why? Experts say we laugh at the very incongruity of a goofy smash-up. Maybe I'm relieved it's not my head at the other end of that baseball bat. In any case, feel-good oracles say laughing together makes us feel unified, releases stress and cranks up all kinds of happy chemicals in our relentlessly busy brains. In other words, the doctor in the house says that laughter is the best medicine and that seeing The Play That Goes Wrong is the right anecdote for a freaky storm that trashed your garden and tore your trees limb from limb. I concur.
San Antonio, TX
Ashley Corbaley, BroadwayWorld: When things go wrong they go right for the National Tour of THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG, now playing at the Majestic Theatre San Antonio. A play within a play, things go from bad to worse onstage and offstage in all the most creative and wonderful of ways. As a result, an evening of hilarity ensues filling the theater with continuous roars of laughter. From breaking props to breaking character, this sensationally popular hit proves just how far actors will take the phrase: "The show must go on!"
Des Moines, IA
DC Felton, BroadwayWorld: This show will have you laughing before the it even starts, and you won't stop laughing until the show is over. As soon as you walk into the auditorium, there is a group of crew members putting last minute touches on the set. Slowly, you start to realize that they are the actors in the show. The humor to me started when they pulled a member of the audience to help with a few things on stage. The mishaps that started happening was only a glimpse into what was going to happen during the evening. It was a great way to warm up the audience and get them laughing.
Los Angeles, CA
Charles McNulty, LA Times: "The Play That Goes Wrong" amuses with its pranks and pratfalls, especially for those whose brains are sitting under an umbrella on the beach. But the delight becomes something of a chore as the antics stretch on to the point that the mystery of the whodunit becomes a tiresome afterthought. Still, there's no denying the hilarity of a troupe that unfailingly turns can-do into can-don't.
Don Grigware, BroadwayWorld: I will not give away the plot, as in this type of play you must experience it for yourself. Actually what you take in of the storyline is next to impossible to remember; it goes in one ear and out the other. I want to mention just one amazingly executed what I call feat by two actors. They are trying to hold things on the wall, which will not stay in place. While holding a portrait over the mantelpiece of an English cocker spaniel, one must reach the phone in order to answer it. The other is trying to keep the door from falling off and somehow manages to take a notebook from the butler with his face, move it onto the flat surface of the wall and write in it with a pen, without using his hands. Brilliant!