When The Play That Goes Wrong goes right, it means everything goes wrong and that’s alright by us. Are you still with us? We thought not.
There’s plenty of plays and musicals that could say they’re fun for all the family, but when you see The Play That Goes Wrong, you can appreciate that its intricately planned idiocy and cleverly choreographed slapstick can truly have people of all ages in stitches and for all the right reasons.
The play is about a fictional drama troupe who are performing their rendition of Murder At Haversham Manor, but as you might guess from the title, things don’t go to plan.
Explaining the cast is a bit like explaining Inception, but instead of dreams within dreams, there’s plays within plays and characters within characters.
Take Henry Shields for instance, Henry is the real human actor who plays Chris Bean, the head of the drama society who has organised the hammy 1920s mystery play, Murder At Haversham Manor.
In that play, Chris Bean is portraying Inspector Carter, a serious detective trying to find the culprit of a grizzly murder in the posh stately home. But thankfully you won’t have to worry about many of the characters, except those in the central play, Murder At Haversham Manor.
As the actors make their way through the plot everything that could go wrong, does go wrong. Lines, props and sometimes even clothes are forgotten, shy stand-ins are forced into limelight and an excellent Lighting And Sound Technician has to constantly intervene in the show to (sometimes) avoid people getting injured.
The play constantly breaks the fourth wall, either by having having the haphazard actors get caught up with applauding themselves mid-scene, or even by directly addressing the audience, when they begin to shout encouragement and argue that this play is much more like a panto. But thankfully, The Play That Goes Wrong, isn’t a panto, it’s so much smarter than that.
Children will laugh at the slapstick, adults will laugh at the terrible attempts to pronounce long words and the whole family will crack up at the sheer chaos and frustration that erupts between the cast, as Murder At Haversham Manor goes wrong the whole play gets weirdly better.
Once you get your head around the premise, it’s one of the best times to be had in West End theatres. It’s clever, raucously funny and unlike anything you’ll have seen before.
The play’s run has even been extended until September 2015, so there’s plenty of time to catch it. There’s even family tickets available for under £100.
And luckily the show even has a spin-off, Peter Pan Goes Wrong and it’s heading on a tour around the UK. So if you can’t make it down to London, it’s probably worth checking out their treatment of Disney’s beloved boy hero sometime soon.