The Play That Goes Wrong at the Duchess Theatre, London Review

ThePlayThatGoesWrongThe Play That Goes Wrong
Duchess Theatre, London

November 2014 to September 2015


Reviewed by Gemma Whates

There is no better medicine for the soul than an evening of laughter. It was exactly what I needed and exactly what I got. Other than being highly recommended to me by friends and family I knew very little about The Play That Goes Wrong. The name does give quiet a giant clue clue but I really didn’t know what to expect.

We arrived early at the Duchess Theatre, which is a quaint little theatre and a perfect venue for the performance. ‘Have you seen a dog?’ we were asked as we got to our seats. We really enjoyed the cast interaction prior to the start of the performance and felt it set a very light-hearted and welcoming atmosphere.

The story follows The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society putting on their latest play, a 1920’s murder mystery. Of course, everything that could possible go wrong does go wrong but the cast battle on until the very end doing the best they can to ‘cover up’ their unfortunate mistakes. It’s one disaster after the next and as the play goes on it gets more and more hilarious. The first act sees most of the slap stick style humour come from the corpse of Charles Havisham that can’t stay still. Charles’s fiancée, Florence Colleymore, her brother Tom Colleymore and Charles brother, Cecil Haversham, try to work out exactly what could have possibly happened and the Inspector is called to further investigate.

The second act sees the mystery solved. We particularly liked a scene where the butler Perkins, played by Jonathan Sayer, forgot his lines and as a result the cast were trapped in a cycle of repeated dialogue until the line dropped and a sense of relief was felt by all. Comic genius. Sayer provided much humour with his mispronunciation of words and exaggerated facial expressions.

For us, it was less about the storyline and more about the humour. Although it was clear to follow what was happening that almost wasn’t the point. From one hilarious scenario the entire cast kept you gripped.  Much credit must go to the set designers who built an incredible set that collapsed on cue and stayed put when necessary. There were quite a few gasps from the audience when the mezzanine level of the stage collapsed!

Overall, we had a wonderful evening. It was comedy at its best. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to friends.

Rating: 5/5 thumbs_up

Tickets cost from £20.

The Play That Goes Wrong is playing until September 2015. For more details or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 412 4659.

The Duchess Theatre. 3-5 Catherine Street, London, WC2B 5LA | 0844 412 4659


Win a family ticket to The Play That Goes Wrong in our competition (competition ends 30/11/14). For your chance to enter click here.


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