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BWW Review: THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG is Wildly Entertaining

BWW Review: THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG is Wildly Entertaining

Ha! Haha! Ha!

The funniest play of the 21stcentury launches its National Tour in Pittsburgh this week. The Play That Goes Wrong is right as rain and will leave you crying with laughter and delight.

The two-act metatheatrical play is a presentation by the Cornley University Drama Society of The Murder at Haversham Manor. This classic whodunit brings to life the death of groom-to-be Charles Haversham (Yaegel T. Welch).

It is up to Charles' dear friend Thomas Colleymoore (Peyton Crim), brother Cecil Haversham (Ned Noyes), and fiancé Florence Colleymoore (Jamie Ann Romero) to solve the mystery. Throw in the archetypical inspector Inspector Carter (Evan Alexander Smith) and one-named butler Perkins (Scott Cote), and the stage is set, sort of.

If there is one thing I've learned about this Drama Society from their performance, it is that they might've had a smoother run-through if every line uttered had been "Macbeth!" From wall fixtures coming loose to actors forgetting lines, the repetitive collapse of the production is its success.

For anyone who has ever worked in theatre or poked fun at some of its idiosyncrasies, this homage to the craft reminds you why you love live theatre. The fourth wall, like the Steelers' Super Bowl hopes, is nonexistent, with characters completely aware of their mistakes in this farce and addressing the audience.

The comic triple is in full swing, too, occasionally even multiplied to six or more. Take, for instance, a scene where the damsel Florence is knocked out unconscious. Not only does the cast continue on with the play, as if she were answering them, but the stagehands also try hoisting her rag doll body through the window six or seven times before eventually disposing of her backstage.

Certainly one of the funnier moments for me (and one of the funnier characters for reasons that I will withhold), but this is typical of the play: something so outlandish and madcap happening in the background, that you completely tune out the dialogue and plot in the foreground. Near the end of the show, I completely lost track of the plot with all the shenanigans and antics. To be honest, I'm not even sure I remember the murderer!

But that is the point; The Play That Goes Wrong is not meant to be about plot, but about characters that you grow to love. The half a dozen or so cast is immersive and interactive. As we get to know each character in this whodunit murder-mystery, the unique quirks and exaggerated mannerisms of each become their trademark, something we come to expect that delights us just the same as the first encounter with it.

There is also slapstick galore - sometimes a little too believable. The comedy sees itself as a blend of Shelock Holmes and Monty Python, but I would be willing to throw in The Three Stooges to that, with a little bit of Abbott and Costello for the American audiences.

The Play That Goes Wrong is wildly entertaining and rarely does the comedy feel too drawn out or overdone. The right mix of physical and verbal comedy blends together harmoniously to create a hilarious piece of theater. A little less frequently are comedies performed at the Benedum, so get out and experience the laughter for yourself.

To see or not to see score: 7/9; Recommended Show

Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel

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From This Author Dylan Shaffer

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