The Play That Goes Wrong

The Play That Goes Wrong
Written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields
Directed by Mark Bell
Lyceum Theatre
June 10, 2017
Production website
💉💉💉💉 out of 5.

One of my most favorite guilty pleasures in the theatre is British farce!  There is something about such a proper, well-speaking group like the Brits suffer hilariously in front of an audience – – and deliciously suffer they do in this play.  In the vain of Michael Frayn’s Noises Off we have the classic comedy about the farce making fun of making farces.  It may sound like an inside joke to theatre people, but it was not.  EVERYONE sitting around me was laughing from the start to the finish.

I was a bit worried at the top of the show.  I found the gimmick of having the actor roaming through the audience working so hard to get a cheap laugh just a bit too much.  Just let us get settled and then we can focus on you.  I was worried that we were in for more of this; luckily we were not.  The second thing that concerned me was the SUPER high pitch the play began with.  We were practically running into walls and bolting through the doors in the first moment.  I thought to myself, “If this is the beginning, where in the world are they going to go from there.”  But they did it.  They started big and consistently got bigger and bigger.  But they also knew when to stand dead silent and allow us, the audience to piece together the next step – perfect timing.

These actors were having so much fun that it was infectious for the audience.  We loved them from the first moment they came out.  The only flaw I saw in the show was some of he physical humor at the end .  How many times can you run into walls or fall out of windows without letting the audience see a bit of how you are protecting yourself?  Only at the end of the show, when they were obviously exhausted were they telegraphing some of the moments.  But this thing is FUNNY – damn funny.  Some say it is far more difficult on stage to play tragedy.  Wrong.  Wrong.  Wrong.  The clown has the far more difficult time.

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