Reviewed by Nigel Chester
We were lucky enough, once again, to enjoy an evening out at Sheffield’s Lyceum Theatre, whose central location and choice of parking makes for an easy journey to this splendid Rococo theatre. We chose to park at Charles Street, a Q car park, less than five minutes walk from the venue, because if you ask at the box office you are given a ticket that reduces the cost of an evening’s parking; last night we paid a very reasonable £5.
Sheffield City Council should be proud of how clean and beautiful the City is and it is a pleasure to be a visitor. Surrounding the theatre are many bars and restaurants to allow you to start or end your evening with a meal or a drink – on production of your ticket, you can save 10% at the Crucible Corner a venue directly opposite the Lyceum.
We were comfortably seated to watch “Murder at Haversham Manor” a 1920s murder mystery, presented by the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society, following their critically acclaimed performances of James, where’s your Peach, this is “The Play That Goes Wrong” a somewhat misleading title, as everything about this production goes absolutely perfectly. You have to be truly good to be this bad. Timing and delivery are nothing short of comic genius.
I had deliberately avoided reading other reviews as I didn’t want to know what it was that went wrong, I needn’t have worried as no reviewer could possibly tell you the plot, as this brilliantly scripted farce takes improbability and exaggeration to a whole new level.
Somewhat like A Midsummer Night’s Dream, this is a play within a play, a literary device used since ancient times, but, it is bang up to date in the The Play That Goes Wrong, for me the lines are blurred between the two plays.
Steven Rostance, playing Jonathan, playing Charles Haversham, opened the play – or did he? Gabriel Paul, playing Trevor, had no part to play in the murder at Haversham Manor, or did he? My head was spinning from the sheer brilliance of comedy.
We were treated in turn, to script failures, prop malfunctions on a major scale, the dog, reported missing before the performance began, failed to reappear but effectively still played its part in the performance. Murders, intrigue, fraud, affairs, deception and un-murders all played to the farcical finale.
It all felt very British, pure panto, but I must be wrong; it has now transferred to Broadway, where it has been well received. Just showing that funny is funny, whichever side of the Atlantic you happen to be on.
If you get the chance to see this amazing performance, take the opportunity, you will not regret it .
Fabulous, frolicking, fun.
Tickets cost from £15 to £33 (booking fees may apply).
The Play That Goes Wrong is at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield from 30 July to 4 August 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk or call the box office on 0114 249 6000.
Lyceum Theatre, Norfolk St, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1 1DA | 0114 249 6000