In the spacious Duchess theatre, The Play that Goes Wrong is a production exploring more than what it says on the tin!
The narrative created by Mischief Theatre is of an amateur company putting on a murder mystery play, but unknown to them, everything goes wrong. This begins as the theatre’s ushers open the curtains, letting us audience into our seats where two frantic ‘crew’ members are looking for a run away performer – the dog.
Many events go wrong from parts of the set coming apart, missing actors and forgotten scripts, ending in a huge climax of mishaps. This particular performance felt accomplished; with a group of school kids in the theatre, actors managed to easily interact with us with the use of improvisation and while we knew this was a scripted play, there was a great sense of these actors’ abilities to digress from the script and still manage to show professionalism and skill.
These latter attributes also manifested themselves in how well rehearsed the play is in relation to the safety of quite dangerous stunts, performed by the actors. While able to mix with each other and the set without injury, they still manage this and perform with humour and still in their characters.
The Play that Goes wrong at no point goes wrong in achieving their goal. With elements reminiscent of productions I’ve seen by Forced Entertainment, while not trying to Brecht-ify the audience, we are felt included in the humour and clumsiness that is this mishap of a murder mystery.
Following this show, Mischief Theatre will be performing one-off shows at the Duchess with ‘Lights, Camera, Improvise’ where this talented company will perform with a hint of forum theatre, using audience suggestions to influence what they produce. By seeing how well they can improvise, I am especially excited to see more from this talented company.