The Play That Goes Wrong – Cheltenham Everyman REVIEW

A theatre first for me in this review. Something happened that is unlikely to happen again any time soon. I saw a production…twice! I first saw The Play That Goes Wrong back in February of last year and you can read my original review here… https://watchingfromthecheapseats.com/2017/02/15/the-play-that-goes-wrong-cheltenham-everyman/

The premise of the play is quite straightforward. Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society attempt to put on a play, The Murder at Haversham Manor, and anything that can go wrong, inevitably does but with incredible timing and ingenious wit and slapstick.

It kicks off with a fantastic monologue from the “director” played by Jake Curran which really warms the audience.  Along with the pre show madness as the cast search for a dog and duct tape together a mantlepiece with the help of a front row audience member it sets the tone of chaos for the evening. 

This cast was particularly strong with stand out performances from Gabriel Paul as Trevor, the incompetent tech guy who ends up stuck in a Grandfather clock for most of Act II. The butler Perkins, Dennis Carter, with his impeccable facial expressions as he remained baffled throughout the 2 hours. But Jake Curran as the inspector, stood out for me as the exasperated aspiring actor. The cast work flawlessly together pulling off gag after gag with no hesitation or stumble (unless intentional of course).

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I’d like to refer back to something I said in my first review which still rings so true, and if I could be so bold as to quote myself… “The Play That Goes Wrong allows you to relax and let the humour sustain your interest whilst taking you through the story… Their intelligence runs deeper, there is hints of clever foreshadowing that can often go amiss if you are roaring at the wrong moment.” Their attention to detail is perfect, both in their performances as well as their set, which falls apart at any given opportunity. It must take them hours to set everything up to allow the stage to unravel before you.

Their relentless humour and clever slapstick is the star of the show and keeps you laughing, and I mean full on roaring, tear inducing, belly aching laughter, not just the polite occasional titter. Comedy is layered on, leading to the climax of a disaster just when you think it can’t get any worse. I can’t explain how funny this play is without giving away all the jokes and surprises, so you will just HAVE to go and see it yourself!

It’s the one play I can’t recommend more, it left my whole family smiling, laughing and chatting about the jokes all the way home. I may even be tempted to follow it down to Bristol Hippodrome this summer. 

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