Review: The Play That Goes Wrong, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

Andy Howells reviews Mischief Theatre Company’s production The Play That Goes Wrong at Wales Millennium Centre.

The Play That Goes Wrong has returned to Cardiff and plays the Wales Millennium Centre this week and is already pulling in the crowds.

It’s easy to see why. Mischief Theatre Company’s debut presentation (which won Best New Comedy at the 2015 Laurence Olivier Awards and has been running since 2012 in London and already undertaken five UK tours) is a masterclass in family friendly comedy.

Writers, Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields have transferred the combined ingredients of Buster Keaton-style slapstick and Pythonesque humour into a hilarious production that has a laughter appeal to all generations.

Following the Cornley Drama Society attempt to put on a 1920s murder mystery, The Play That Goes Wrong is an immersive theatrical experience before the show even begins. Stagehands create some pre-show fun by interacting with the audience and giving a small sample of things to come with a beautifully designed, but precarious set.

As The Play that Goes Wrong’s title suggests, everything that can possibly go wrong, does. Giving the audience the right proportion of belly-laughs in the process. Anyone who has attended any live theatrical presentation, professional or amateur will have noted mishaps technical, performance or otherwise from time to time. The Play That Goes Wrong has them (and even more) in abundance, from misplaced props to awkward doors that open or stick at will via actors not knowing their lines or rendered unconscious.

There are some wonderful moments – Colin Burnicle’s director, Chris having a mini-meltdown when a prop is misplaced and Beth Lilly’s stage manager, Anne finding herself stepping into the role of the leading lady after the Aishah Numah’s original is rendered unconscious. Then there are the overplayed corpses created by Steven Rostance and the wonderfully energetic Edi De Melo.

In classic showbiz tradition, the show goes on… and on, until there’s not a single prop or set to go on with, and by doing so delivers a quadruple blast of slapstick and mirth in its final moments.

A genuine fun for all the family live show, The Play That Goes Wrong will give you a theatrical experience you will never forget.

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