Thoughts on The Play That Goes Wrong

What: The Play That Goes Wrong
Where: Comedy Theatre, Melbourne

Playing at the Comedy Theatre, Melbourne until March 26th, 2017
Tickets and information can be found here: theplaythatgoeswrong.com.au

“Wait, what?” You ask. Didn’t you already review this show back in February? Is this The Blog Post That Goes Wrong? Was it deliberate? Was it a mistake? You’ll never know. And that’s the genius behind this colourful play within a play.

Heath covered the plot so perfectly in his review that I suggest you take a gander. The best thing is that the performance begins before you realise. While you’re taking your selfies and posting your check ins, the mishaps have already begun – from looking for a lost dog to audience participation with stage props, there’s so much to see and hear while you’re sitting in your chairs. We even had the “director” (actor Nick Simpson-Deeks as Chris Bean, playing Inspector Carter/Director) introduce himself to us. I have to admit that we hardly gave him our attention, but this was mainly due to having no idea what was going on at that stage – it wasn’t until he appeared on stage that things became clear.

His opening monologue is brilliant and sets the tone the overall show. I did enjoy his crack about the mix up with tickets to Book of Mormon. That was a nice reference to Melbourne, and addition to the show – it is also mentioned in the programme, which is also a great touch.

I believe there are two types of people in this world – those who frequently laugh out loud and those who laugh on the inside. I’m part of the latter, so it was always going to be tough to get me to laugh. I’d never seen a play before (always musicals) so I wasn’t even sure what I was getting myself into, especially being a tough nut to crack when it comes to comedy (never go to a comedy show with me, seriously, I’m the worst!), I thought I may actually hate this.

But to my surprise, I did laugh out loud. Granted, I wasn’t rolling in the aisles of hilarity, nor was I one of those people whose laughing turned into some serious hyperventilating, but I did chuckle in my seat more than once, so that’s always a good sign.

There were moments where I felt like they’d gone too far, and thus the more obvious  mishaps seemed stupid to me; but the moments I found myself laughing the most were  the unexpected ones (and thus this review remains spoiler-free). Anyone can walk into a wall and make people laugh, for example, but it’s those that you never see coming which will have you in stitches. Sometimes I honestly don’t know if they are planned or not! And that’s what made it so good. Some are predictable, but those out of left field, genius!

You know when someone is described as having a comedic face, that refers to James Marlowe (as Cecil Haversham/Arthur the Gardener, as played by Max Bennett). Normally that could be considered an insult, but in this instance, it is a big compliment. He has one of those brilliant faces that can be twisted and moulded into looks which just make you laugh. If you don’t know what I’m talking about you will think I’m utterly mad, but it definitely is a skill that not all actors have. He does it all so brilliantly, and thus he was my favourite on the night.

Brooke Satchwell’s (as Sandra Wilkinson) performance as Florence Colleymoore also deserves a mention. She was over-the-top in all the right ways. It was as if she was in a pantomime and no one else got the memo. She was the right mix of over-the-top, eccentric, sultry and slightly dangerous. Her character has the most to gain and yet loses the most. She’s complex yet simple, and I don’t know where she found that voice but it’s a marvel. The show is worth her brilliant performance alone.

The play is very well cast; I enjoyed how the cast changes as things go wrong and those “supporting” characters get their chance to shine. It’s all very well done. There are no weak performers and that’s quite rare. I recommend you take some time to study the set as so much has gone into the production and set design. Items you think are a useless show detail will more than likely have a purpose somewhere in the show. This also plays into those unexpected moments that I was speaking of before. Also, the Comedy Theatre being so small actually works in the shows favour, and as an audience member, it also guarantees no bad seats.

If I had to focus on a negative it was on the play’s play itself. I wanted to know about the murder and the reasons behind it – now, this isn’t in the spirit of the play as it is about the things that do go wrong, but when I found myself getting into the details, things were often lost due to the loud volume of laughter or things going wrong, and I didn’t like that. That possibly sounds stupid, but is a personal thing of me simply wanting to follow the unnecessary plot of the play within the play. In the end we do find out who the killer is and their motives, but I did feel like some details were missed.

In closing, it’s a brilliant production, with so much going into this deceivingly simple show. It won’t be something for everybody – but if you enjoy a laugh and surprises, this may be something for you!


The Play That Goes Wrong is playing at the Comedy Theatre, Melbourne until March 26th
Tickets and information can be found here: theplaythatgoeswrong.com.au

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