Sunday, 14 September 2014

Review: The Play That Goes Wrong at the Duchess Theatre

The Play That Goes Wrong 
Duchess Theatre
Reviewed on Friday 12th September 2014

When I was sent an email inviting me to review a new comedy at a little fringe venue by an improvised theatre company in March 2013 I never thought that a year and a half later I would be invited to review the play's West End transfer!

The Play That Goes Wrong is summed up perfectly by its title; the piece follows the 'Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society' as they put on a 1920's murder mystery... but of course things don't quite go as planned - in fact (if you hadn't already guessed by now) things go spectacularly wrong.

Anyone who has performed in, worked on or watched a piece of amdram theatre will totally relate to this show. There are lines forgotten, missing props and last minute understudies... not to mention a set which turns out to be a death trap.

I sat in my seat at the Duchess Theatre and absolutely howled with laughter throughout the performance. The only problem was that I peaked too soon and during the interval I thought I was about to have a heart attack. Laughing through The Play That Goes Wrong is certainly the most enjoyable form of exercise. The company may have been performing the same show for a considerable time now but their performances remain incredibly fresh and they are all on the ball.

It's remarkable to see the play performed in a larger venue. The piece is slightly longer, now with an interval. At a glance Nigel Hook's design is fairly simple, but as events spiral out of control the set shocks and shines. It could be argued that once you've seen the first ten minutes you've seen it all, but as long as you proceed with an open mind and are willing to have a good time, The Play That Goes Wrong provides a couple of hours of first class entertainment.

I am incredibly proud of what Mischief Theatre have achieved with this show, and I look forward to belly laughing my way through all of their future productions. I can't remember the last time I saw such a brilliantly devised and well performed physical comedy.

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

The Play That Goes Wrong is booking at the Duchess Theatre until Sunday 1st February 2015. Please visit for further information and tickets.

Photo Credit:  Alastair Muir 

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