So, in short it does what it say’s on the tin, well in the title in this case.
The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society are trying to put on a 1920s murder mystery, trying is the key word here. As the show progresses, literally every thing that can go wrong….does. We have set falling, understudies going on, lines forgotten and fights breaking out. A slapstick pantomime of a show that had the entire audience laughing from the get go.
Having started as a one-act play devised by members of the Mischief Theatre Company, the play has now evolved into a full two act show and you can catch the Play That Goes Wrong until September 2016 at the Duchess Theatre.
Speaking firsthand as a performer, when in a long running show you sometimes want or need little things to go differently or wrong to get that fresh energy or spark. Whether it be a prop breaking or an understudy going on, well this show is nothing but that. Hardly anything goes right…
The 4th wall seems to have not even been built for this show. Some of the cast are walking around the auditorium and interacting with the audience from about 7pm ( the show starts at 7.30pm). You meet the ‘Director’ of the show and a he is nice enough to bring a member of the audience up onstage to ‘help’ two stage technicians prepare for the evening’s show, Cornley Polytechnic Drama Societies – Murder At Haversham Manor. The poor chap, it didn’t go well for him.
The show very much reminded me of the Broadway show – A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder . Exploring themes of adultery, murder, mystery, romance, this show has it all. It is also a great show for tourists as even if English is not your first language visually it is very funny and you are able to follow the story.
One of the understudies, Adam byron, was on. He was fantastic, he was humorous, charming and a very expressive character. Bryony Corrigan as Sandra was a delight. The over the top actress who clearly has ‘dance’ training was a particular favourite of mine. Partnered with Laura Kirman as the ‘understudy’ Annie. A northern comedian of a stagehand who comes into play later in the show. Both are highly comical and a great duo.
Each cast member deserves praise as this has to be one of the smallest cast on the West End and each cast member’s character is hilarious and pivotal to the story.
This show owes its success just as much to the backstage team as it does to the cast. The set and scenery was designed by Nigel Hook, and to have a set that can break so precisely without actually breaking is a skill. Beautifully partnered with the costume and wardrobe by Roberto Surcace you are thrust into the high society life of these characters.
I’m sure it is a hoot to work on, Mark Bell’s direction is realistically manic and joyful at the same time. With the believability of accidents and some more obviously ones thrown in there in a slapstick fashion.
You can find out more information about the show and purchase tickets at http://www.theplaythatgoeswrong.com/