Review: The Play That Goes Wrong at The REP, Birmingham

The Play That Goes Wrong

To be surrounded by hundreds of people laughing until their cheeks hurt for more than two hours in the theatre reminded me of the beauty of forgetting your worries at the door and simply enjoying yourself.

The Play That Goes Wrong, currently on stage at the Birmingham REP, began way before we had even taken our seats. Cast members ran around the theatre, encouraging people to join in their pre-show, in a bid to give us an idea of what was about to happen. I had never seen this been done before, and it worked so well as it got the audience engaged right from the start.

The show is a play within a play, which sees The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society put on a 1920s murder mystery, which they hope is going to be much better than their previous productions of Ugly and The Beast and many more.

The ‘Murder at Haversham Manor’ follows the classic Whodunit murder of Charles Haversham and the cast work together in a bid to discover who the murderer is.

However the show is titled The Play That Goes Wrong, and every single aspect of the performance goes wrong, from actors forgetting their lines to the whole set falling down around them, literally. The set itself was designed beautifully and very cleverly thought out, it was the décor itself that had the very best comedy timing.

The Mischief Theatre’s cast are relatively unknown. But, they are brilliant.

Stand out performances came from Graeme Rooney, who played Trevor, the lighting and sound operator turned actor, Katie Bernstein, who played Annie, the stage manager turned actress, and Alastair Kirton, who took on the role of Max.

The Play That Goes Wrong is classic British slapstick comedy; imagine Fawlty Towers, with a dashing of Poirot and the cheekiness of the Carry On films.

At one point Inspector Carter, played by Patrick Warner, had to tell the Birmingham crowd that “this is not a pantomime” after the audience began calling out “it’s behind you” which made for great in the moment comedy and a highlight of the performance.

The show is comedy gold and the audience embraced the silliness, and laughed along with all of the cringe worthy moments.

Yes, everything goes wrong, but it is those wrongs that make it so right.

The Play That Goes Wrong Rating: 9/10

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