The Play That Goes Wrong
A lifetime ago I would review amateur dramatic productions for the local newspaper. The standard was generally very high, except when it wasn’t… and these were often the performances I enjoyed the most. The magic of theatre is that anything can happen, and who doesn’t love a plucky cast and crew determined that, even in the face of disaster, the show must go on. With excruciating accuracy and genuine affection, The Play That Goes Wrong recreates those missed cues, technical hitches, fluffed lines and wobbly scenery and wraps it all up in one glorious comic package.
The premise is simple enough, after a series of low budget, badly cast flops, the ambitious but hopelessly amateur Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society are back with the debut of Director/Actor/Voice Coach/Box Office Manager Chris Bean (magnificently played by Tom Bulpett) in the form of a 1920’s murder mystery play titled ‘The Murder at Haversham Manor’. I don’t want to give too much away, part of the fun is trying to anticipate what crisis will befall the performers next, but suffice to say everything that could go wrong, does go wrong. This is really masterful slapstick with the help of an ingenious self-destructing set, it might not be clever but it is very very funny and ultimately earned a well deserved standing ovation from the audience.
The Play That Goes Wrong may play it for laughs but at heart it feels like a love letter to all those would be thespians and backstage tech teams who have provided so much joy over the years. Go and see it, and then go and support your local amateur dramatic society – live theatre is back and the show must go on!