★★★☆☆ | The Play That Goes Wrong
There is an old saying in theatre that “the show must go on” and nowhere is that old adage put more to the test than in The Play That Goes Wrong, a comedy of errors which collates every actor’s worst nightmare and throws them at the cast who are determined to carry on regardless.
Borrowing heavily from The Mousetrap, The Play That Goes Wrong is a scattergun comedy set around the fictitious Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society, who is performing The Murder at Haversham Manor, a murder mystery set in the roaring twenties. Despite the best endeavours of the cast, nothing quite goes right for them, as scenery collapses, actors are knocked unconscious, props break and unprepared understudies stand in.
With a varied blend of visual gags, slapstick, farce, wordplay, one-liners, missed cues and a rather more animated corpse than one would expect, the gags come thick and fast; some hitting the bullseye and others missing the target; but the whole thing is so fast-paced, that there is always another gag heading your way imminently. Garnering some genuine laugh out loud moments, the show has a sensible one hour forty minute runtime meaning that even if a few of the gags begin to outstay their welcome, the show does not.
Whilst there is plenty of fun to be found and a lot of chuckles, guffaws and belly-laughs to be had, the ending of the show descends into a rather shouty and chaotic handful of closing scenes which, unfortunately, slightly takes the edge off of what has come before. But that said, the cast is delightful, in particular, Kazeem Tosin Amore; and there is some excellent split second comedic timing and plenty of physical dexterity on offer as the fictional cast try desperately to keep their faces straight, their upper lips stiff and prevent the performance collapsing into a catastrophe.