Reviewed by Sue Walker
I arrived at the theatre not really knowing what to expect as i didn’t know much about the play itself. I went with one of my sons who loves the theatre and he kept on saying “just trust me mum, you will love it”. As we took our seats and looked around the beautiful theatre we heard a man from up in the gods asking the audience if anyone had seen a dog? i was “like what on earth is going on”? my son was laughing as he knew about the play. The show hadn’t even started and the actors were on the stage trying to fix things on the set that were “broken” even as they did this people in the audience were laughing. The man in the gods asked the audience if anyone could bark as they had lost a dog? a young girl said yes and so the cast got her to bark, the audience laughed and clapped at her efforts. Another member of the cast was trying to mend the mantlepiece by duct taping it to the wall which didn’t go too well and was hilarious in itself.
The play itself is based on a murder mystery set in Haversham Manor on the night of an engagement party for Charles Haversham (played by Jonathan Harris) and Florence Colleymore (played by Sandra Wilkinson) in which Charles is murdered. As you get into the play, strange and funny things happen, like furniture moving, Charles’s dead body moving, pictures falling off the wall. The whole cast try very hard to keep the play going, audience participation is encouraged. It almost reminded me of Fawlty Towers and the humour they had (for those of you that are old enough to remember that show).
The writers ability to set up jokes long before the punch line was delivered took some skill and should be applauded. The set literally fell apart around the show and was obviously intended to do so, which made the play even more funny, from fake snow being thrown, to the fireplace falling apart and the door sticking shut were all absolutely hilarious.
My cheeks were hurting from all the laughing, even if at times i wasn’t quite sure what was going on. It didn’t matter as the talent in the cast was more than enough.
Max Bennett (Cecil Haversham) and Annie Twilloil (Stage manager) were outstanding in their performances. Both took on multiple roles throughout the show and were both at the brunt of a lot of the jokes from walking into a post to being hit on the head by the door being swung open and being knocked unconscious. The audience both young and old were all laughing from start to finish.
The play is a definite must watch for all theatre lovers. It was so nice to be finally in a theatre after a long COVID pandemic. Everyone was made to feel at ease with the adjustments.
Aylesbury Waterside Theatre is right in the heart of Aylesbury with plenty of restaurants, pubs and ample parking to make your theatre visit more enjoyable.
The show runs from Monday 22nd Nov – Sat 27th Nov
at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Exchange Street, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP20 1UG
Tickets cost between £13.00 – £50.00
For more information or to book tickets visit: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-play-that-goes-wrong/aylesbury-waterside-theatre/calendar/2021-11-25
Or call the box office on 0844 871 7615