The Play That Goes Wrong

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Multi-award winning British play, The Play That Goes Wrong is ripping up the comedy theatre and having us falling out of our seats laughing in the process. Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, Kenny Wax Ltd and Stage Presence in association with David Atkins Enterprises and ABA International Touring present the Mischief Theatre Production for audiences ages 8 and above.  An (almost) all-Australian all-star cast delivers this hilarious farce with incredibly physicality and comedic timing, set in front of a complex and wonderful set.

The play introduces ‘The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’ who are attempting to put on a 1920s murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong…does, as the accident-prone thespians battle on against all the odds to get to their final curtain call. The tension is set from the beginning with the techies struggling to get the final pieces together, recruiting an audience member to hold up the mantelpiece. From then, all sorts of wonderful comedic frivolity and calamities ensue, concurrently as the dramatic murder mystery unfolds. The way the unexperienced and wooden dramatic characters have to overcome all the dramatic disasters in the play has us gasping for air. The physicality of all characters is fantastic and gobsmacking, as the stunts required from sword fighting to fainting are executed perfectly.

The energy of the cast on-stage has the full house — including a few of the who’s who of the Melbourne television and theatre scene — buzzing. The ‘would-be Australian thespians’ include Logie award-winner Brooke Satchwell, Darcy Brown, Francine Cain, Adam Dunn, Luke Joslin, George Kemp, Jordan Prosser, Nick Simpson-Deeks, Tammy Weller who each bring their individual gusto and finesse to their roles. The stand out for me is original British cast member and current Mischief Theatre actor, James Marlowe. Marlowe’s show pony physicality as Cecil is side-splittingly skilled. Equally impressing is the athletic and very realistic fight scene between Brooke Satchwell and Tammy Weller.

One key element in this show is the set. Some serious innovation and ingenuity has gone into it, and the creative team have hit every nail on the head. It adds a certain element of danger and excitement wondering what is going to go wrong with the set next; I jumped out of my seat when the pyrotechnics went off! The lighting fits well, and the performers are not mic’d, which is refreshing as it adds a real rawness — I was at the back of the stalls and able to hear okay but those hard of hearing be sure to get a seat up close. You don’t see shows like this with this much slapstick very much anymore, as the choreography and blocking is so detailed. So much timing, isolation, and control goes into one small segment, and in this show, there are endless moments where people are falling over furniture, out windows, coming through walls, and more!

Melbourne is so lucky to have some incredible theatre on at the moment- with Kinky Boots, Book of Morman, and Melbourne International Comedy Festival just around the corner. Still, The Play That Goes Wrong stands out and should be a strong contender for your ‘to see’ list. There’s elements of this show that are truly jaw-dropping ‘how did they do that’ magic theatre that unfold before your eyes. I want to see it again as there is just so much great detail and colour. It’s hilarious, it’s hearty; catch it while it’s still here.

The Play That Goes Wrong 
Comedy Theatre, 240 Exhibition Street, Melbourne
Till Sunday, 25 March

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