Sunday, 9 April 2017

The Play That Goes Wrong - a hilarious night out at the theatre

Australia is fortunate to have a wonderful range of live theatre shows that provides enjoyment for people to go along and see. There are the mega musicals, opera, and dramas.

The Play That Goes Wrong is none of these. It is a comedy. A comedy with a capital C. I, and the all the other people in the packed out theatre, laughed ourselves silly at the opening night in Sydney last week. It has been ages since I laughed out aloud so much during a live theatre performance.

The Play That Goes Wrong is about a local theatre group, ‘The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’ putting on a 1920s murder mystery called The Murder at Haversham Manor. However, every possible thing that can go wrong under the sun goes wrong. The actors stuff up their lines, come in at the wrong places, bump into things, and cause mayhem in whatever they do on the stage. The actors in the play try their hardest to give the best performances of their lives, but try hard as they do, everything goes wrong. It is a theatrical disaster. It is a wonder that they reach interval, let alone the end of the show with all the chaos that happens on the stage.

The play opens with Charles Haversham, the Lord of the Manor, being found dead on his chaise-lounge in the parlour. We then meet his fiancee, the butler, and the other characters in the Manor that evening. The police inspector then appears to solve the who-dun-it mystery.

The mainly Australian actors have mastered english accents to match their characters. The Australians in the cast have been in many other stage productions, film and TV, but they are true comic geniuses in The Play That Goes Wrong - BROOKE SATCHWELL, DARCY BROWN, FRANCINE CAIN, ADAM DUNN, LUKE JOSLIN, GEORGE KEMP, JORDAN PROSSER, NICK SIMPSON-DEEKS, and TAMMY WELLER. There is one original UK cast member that blends in well with the Aussie actors - JAMES MARLOWE.

The entire cast of The Play That Goes Wrong have split second timing down pat in what they say and what they do. They have achieved this with their spoken lines and with their movements on stage. They all must have done lots of stunt training, as they are always on the move and go from standing vertically, to laying horizontally, to being thrust through windows and doors. There is plenty of farce and slapstick comedy and action on stage that sometimes take you by surprise as you are not expecting what you see. It reminds me of Fawlty Towers and Monty Python, however, The Play That Goes Wrong has far more hilarious laugh moments in it.

The sets comprise the walls of the inside of an English Manor parlour and a loft study. These sets and props have an equal staring role as the actors. Doors open and close at the incorrect times, objects fall off the walls, and of course major calamities happen with the set at the most inopportune times. Even the stage lighting goes wrong.

The Play That Goes Wrong was created in England by a bunch of actors and first performed in 2012 to a small audience in a pub theatre. It then moved onto the West End, and has since been performed in many countries around the world to appreciative audiences. It won the Best New Comedy Award at London’s Olivier Awards last year.

The Play That Goes Wrong is only on for a few weeks at the Roslyn packer theatre in Sydney. People will need to be quick to book their seats or thy may find they miss out. It has already been put on in Melbourne and Adelaide to rave reviews, and will move onto Canberra, Brisbane and Perth.

It is a great night of entertainment, with loads of side-splitting comedy. Just what Australia and the world needs today.

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