"Hilarious play within a play"
by Jill Lawrie for remotegoat on 11/01/18

Now touring the UK is the hugely successful multi-award-winning comedy “The Play That Goes Wrong” from Mischief Theatre. Founded a decade ago by LAMDA graduates this small theatre group have grown into one of the country’s leading comedy theatre companies and are now breaking into TV too. They are dedicated to creating exciting improvised comedy under the artistic direction of Henry Lewis. A play-within-a-play has a long tradition in the theatrical world and as in Michael Frayn’s masterly “Noises Off” – perfect timing is essential in pulling off a successful slapstick farce.

It is opening night of the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’s production of “Murder at Haversham Manor” but already there are problems, stage hands are still struggling with the set, even enlisting a member from the audience to hold up a mantlepiece, when the director wishes to make his opening announcement! The 1920’s murder mystery gets off to a shaky start, the corpse cannot lie still, doors slam knocking a cast member unconscious, alcohol is somehow substituted with paint thinner and the upper split- level set collapses! Midst such mayhem and disasters the ensemble cast attempt to muddle through, with the stage manager, script in hand, covering for the missing thespian.
Incredible performances from this accomplished troupe who valiantly rise to the challenge from director through to the lighting/sound operator. Flawless technical skill, inconceivably perfect timing and phenomenal energy ensure a night of hilarious non-stop laughter. There were standout performances from Jake Curran (Inspector Carter) and Steven Rostance (Charles Haversham) the wayward corpse while Kazeem Tosin Amore (Thomas Colleymore) makes a heroic attempt at controlling sliding furniture with dazzling finesse. Bobby Hirston is commended too for his role as Cecil Haversham and the dog-less gardener!

This spirited cocktail is a masterclass from all involved receiving well deserved rapturous applause from the capacity audience for such an audacious exploit into catastrophic mishaps, crumbling sets and unscripted fiascos.

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