The hit West End comedy, The Play That Goes Wrong, is currently in town and if you are yet to get a ticket I suggest you do that now before it is too late!
A word of warning, the play actually begins before the play begins so I highly recommend getting to the theatre early.
The crew of the “Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society” are staging their most ambitious show yet – Murder at Haversham Manor and are busy making last minute adjustments to the set whilst the auditorium doors open.
All of the set changes are undertaken subtlety whilst the audience are filing in, leaving the crew with less and less time to finish before curtains up.
Mantles need to be attached to the wall, doors must be unstuck and with time quickly running out and not enough hands available as one of the crew are searching for a missing cast member in the foyer, an audience member is enlisted to help. All of the tomfoolery unfolding before the show even starts is to let you know where you are headed.
Debutant director Chris Bean (Jake Curran) reassures us the society are in a position, finally, where they have enough cast members to fill every role unlike previous productions such as Chekhov’s Two Sisters, Cat and The Lion and the Wardrobe and have also managed to find the money for a decent set, at last!
The show kicks off and we quickly understand that Charles Haversham (Steven Rostance) has been murdered on the evening of his engagement to Florence Colleymore (Elena Valentine), although he looks very much alive in the opening lighting miscue.
His butler Perkins (Swindon’s Benjamin McMahon) alongside his brother Cecil Haversham (Bobby Hirston), future brother-in-law Thomas Colleymore (Kazeem Tosin Amore) and Inspector Carter (also played by Jake Curran) are left to figure out whodunit.
To give too much more away about the plot would be a disservice to the play. Rest assured you are in safe hands with director Mark Bell and the writers Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields who have put together a two hour sequence of intense physical comedy along with some ridiculously funny dialogue mishaps that will keep you laughing all the way back to your car at the end of the show.
Nigel Hook must also get a mention as set designer. It is clear to see why he has been nominated for the Best Set Design from the Outer Critics Circle Award.
During the interval you could sense the confusion of audience members reading the fake cast list bios alongside a list of fake actors playing the fake characters from the fake drama school, trying to figure out exactly who it was they were watching on stage, this was so well done it had me laughing through the break too (and scratching my head trying to write out the cast above!)
This play has one goal, which as I witnessed last night I would imagine it has not yet failed to do – make its audience laugh.
If you want a break of all the seriousness of the world’s goings on this week, #TrumpKimSummit and more retailers going into administration then head on down to the Wyvern Theatre. The Play That Goes Wrong is on until Saturday 16th June.