In theatre, as in life, some things simply don’t go to plan. Props go missing, actors fluff lines, sets come unstuck and backstage crew unwittingly upstage the cast.
London’s multi-award winning West End hit The Play That Goes Wrong has screeched onto the Perth theatre scene. Be warned: audiences are experiencing wit whiplash and slapstick symptoms of laughter lines and compulsive crack-ups.
The Play that Goes Wrong is a fast-paced, highly infectious romp of exaggerated proportions that proves calamity is the key to comedy.
The all-Australian cast is complemented by Logie award-winner Brooke Satchwell, who is a standout in this production. While not normally cast as a funny girl, Satchwell proves she is a queen of her craft, portraying prima donna Sandra with great flair and the required dose of melodrama.
Darcy Brown, Francine Cain (WAAPA), Adam Dunn, Luke Joslin, George Kemp, Tammy Weller, Jordan Prosser and NIDA graduate Nick Simpson-Deeks complete the cast. As an ensemble they are sublime, working together like the cogs of a clock to ensure The Play that Goes Wrong, goes right.
Pandemonium prevails from the start, when the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society attempt to produce an Agatha Christie-style murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything goes ‘arse –up’ before the audience have even taken their seats.
Winston is missing, and so is a…. Duran Duran CD? The stage manager can’t control his cast and the crew can’t open the stage door – and that’s before the curtain goes up… and down… and up again!
This is a comedy like no other, delivered with savoir-faire and straight-faced buffoonery. It mirrors the farcical formula of classic British TV comedies such as Fawlty Towers and The Vicar of Dibley as well as the popular plays in Walter Zerlin Jr’s ‘Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society’ series.
The Play that Goes Wrong humbly began as a Fringe World fail but has since entertained over a quarter of a million people. It is skilful, addictive and displays immaculate comic timing.
The world needs to laugh and revel in frivolity, and a night out at this event will certainly make you forget yourself for an hour or two. But be warned, this show may induce bladder leakage, snorting, stomach cramps and guffawing… whatever that actually is?
The Play That Goes Wrong deserves every five-star review and accolade. Here is another one to add to its swag: it’s five stars from me.
Catch The Play That Goes Wrong at His Majesty’s Theatre until 11 June.
Images: Jeff Busby