Reviewed by Janine Rumble
Last night (23 April 2018) I went to see The Play That Goes Wrong at Milton Keynes Theatre. Having seen versions of this on the television over the past two Christmases, I was eager to see what the stage version was like and it certainly did not disappoint, it had the audience roaring with laughter from the beginning to the calamitous end.
The Play That Goes Wrong is a must see for all theatre goers, especially all those who secretly want to see what can go wrong during a play and here, in this play, anything that can possibly goes wrong, does go wrong with hilarious results and much laughter and gasps from the audience.
It is a multi-award winning comedy and the premise is that The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society are putting on a 1920’s murder mystery and everything goes wrong, much to the distress of their director Chris Bean (Jake Curran, who also played Inspector Carter). It is very difficult to review the show without giving too much away, it is a play that has to be seen and experienced.
The actors played actors from the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society who put on a play called Murder at Haversham Hall. The play is a murder mystery set in a 1920’s grand house with an elevator! The play has only one set on the stage (very cleverly designed by Nigel Hook) which is set up to look like 2 rooms in the style not too dissimilar from an Agatha Christie novel and a sound box nearby for Trevor (Gabriel Paul) the Lighting and Sound Operator. Both are very cleverly used throughout the show to great effect. The comedy timing of all the actors was amazing and their interactions with the audience was brilliant, especially Bobby Hirston who played Max playing Cecil Haversham and Arthur the gardener. His interactions with the audience were funny as were his interactions with the dog (I will say no more!)
Steven Rostance, playing Jonathan, playing Charles Havesham, Kazeem Tosin Amore, playing Robert, playing Thomas Colleymoore, Elena Valentine playing Sandra, playing Florence Colleymoore, Catherine Dryden, playing Annie the hapless stage manager and Benjamin McMahon playing Dennis, playing the butler Perkins, Liam Horrigan, David Kristopher-Brown, Louisa Sexton and Laura White who played the assistant stage managers were all amazing and all of them brought their character’s personality to the front. I especially liked how they went from being an actor performing in the murder play to being an actor annoyed with what was going wrong.
Despite all the slapstick and the silliness, you have to admire the energy needed to act in a play where everything goes wrong. The actor’s energy was boundless and the direction by Mark Bell was great.
At times the ‘gags’ were predictable, but the actors performed it in such a way that made you laugh despite of yourself or made you gasp in shock at the absurdity of it all.
I would recommend this brilliant play to all, especially if you like a good laugh and generous amount of silliness. I have never heard a whole theatre laughing in unison until tonight; it really is a feel good show. Go see it.
Milton Keynes Theatre is a theatre I had not previously visited and I was impressed with how lovely it was and easy to get to from the numerous car parks situated nearby. There was also a large number of restaurants in which to get a meal before the show and drinks after. All the staff I encountered tonight were very pleasant and always smiling and helpful. The facilities were clean and tidy too. The seats we had were brilliant and they were comfortable too with plenty of leg room.
Tickets cost from £16.90 to £39.40 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
The Play That Goes Wrong is at Milton Keynes Theatre from 23-28 April 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes or call the box office on 0844 8717652.
Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK9 3NZ