I had a Ticketmaster voucher for nearly a year and felt it was about time to spend it, especially as it was going to run out. I had a look through their selection, I didn’t have anything particular in mind. Ideally, Great Britain, a National Theatre production that is now running in the West End and is a subject I wanted to tackle myself. I think I’ve missed the boat, like most things, I should have acted sooner. They didn’t have any tickets for the day I wanted. I’d also heard good things about Neville’s Island. They didn’t have tickets for that day either. So after thirty minutes on the phone, fifteen of which were on hold, I had a £20 to see The Play That Goes Wrong. What could possibly goes wrong?
The premise is simple, an amateur dramatics company are trying to put on a murder mystery play. Before you’ve set foot in the theatre, the production has started to go wrong. There’s an upside down poster and a sign informing us that Tom Cruise will not be appearing in this production which was truly upsetting. I took my seat and witnessed horror unfolding; pre production audience participation. The actors are asking if anyone has seen a dog. Thankfully, they didn’t come near me, I find that a bit cringey. It’s fitting I suppose but I’m not a fan. I kept my head down and enjoyed the programme.
The play is aptly named, it goes wrong. Everything goes wrong. Except maybe the costumes, not a wardrobe malfunction or a nip slip in sight. It’s true what the tag lines, it’s like Monty Python hijacks The Mousetrap. There was physical comedy and word play: laughs that were immediate and come from the gut; and there were laughs that took their time, took you by surprise, that took their time. There were also times when I cried with laughter out of fear, I feared for the actors safety. The set was just as manic as the actors. Thinking about the health and safety forms gave me a headache, I can’t imagine how it was actually accomplished. I have been involved in many amateur productions, for me, this play was too raw, too true and too funny. It was painful. My most prominent thought throughout the second act was “fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck”.
Mischief Theatre, the company behind The Play That Goes Wrong, are known for their scripted and improvised comedy. Having only seen it once, I don’t know how true this is but I expect the show is slightly different every night. This is going to get very Inception like so bare with me. A first time actor of The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society has recently come into a fortune and funds a large proportion of the production, as a result he gets a larger part. He over acts, he gets a round of applause and he begins to play on that. He looks to the audience, a childish grin on his face and bows. There was another moment where it became a pantomime. All of the actors of Mischief Theatre are extremely talented to embrace the organised chaos they have created. This play has left a smile on my face but it is one pair of split trousers away from perfection.