The Play That Goes Wrong @ Brighton Theatre Royal

In a wonderful case of life imitating art I have now, at the third time of trying, finally made it along to see The Play That Goes Wrong, a show that has done its best to elude me both in the West End and around the UK despite my best efforts to catch it. Now I’ve made it to the cosy Theatre Royal Brighton let’s find out if the show lives up to expectations!
It takes a huge amount of skill to act badly. Even moreso to do it in a way that is both consistently entertaining and manages to fit in with a show that is incredibly technically demanding, but somehow Mischief Theatre consistently achieve both the funniest “bad acting” you’re likely to see on stage and a sense of utter chaos amid some intricately choreographed set pieces.
The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’s ambitious murder mystery might seem rather too lavish for an Amateur Dramatic production, but any regular visitor to their local societies will have seen sets too expansive to be entirely safe given the lack of budget (and appropriate building skills) which leave the audience quietly nervous that they may collapse at any moment.
Of course the real skill on display from the cast of The Play That Goes Wrong is making every joke land perfectly despite the piece being so well known that almost every action is expected. They do so with aplomb, from corpses who keep reacting to the situation around them to hastily recast leading ladies, overblown choreography and a set that seems to have its own opinion of the piece the cast sell everything perfectly!
There’s not a weak link on display but special mention must go to Jake Curran’s plummy actor/director, desperately trying to keep the play headed in the right direction amid the chaos around them, Bobby Hirston whose facial expressions alone are worth the ticket price and Catherine Dryden whose shy stage manager somehow holds the set together before getting a taste for the footlights.
If you haven’t seen this show yet get yourself along to Brighton or catch one of the other tour dates, I can promise you a laugh-a-minute treat!



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Matt has been writing on all manner of subjects for over 15 years. He has written for a number of music magazines, made appearances on BBC Introducing and regularly contributed to local newspapers. These days he mostly writes about theatre, but also enjoys covering sport, especially rugby.

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