DramaNorth WestReview

The Play That Goes Wrong – Theatr Clwyd, Mold

Reviewer: Abbie Rippon

Writers: Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, Henry Sheilds

Directors: Mark Bell and Sean Turner

For those readers unfamiliar with Mischief Theatre, which rock have you been hiding under for the past ten years? With a plethora of awards to their name, a range of hit stage shows, TV specials and even their own TV Series The Goes Wrong Show, Mischief Theatre is one of the most prolific companies in the UK, and their iconic work The Play That Goes Wrong is back for another UK tour.

It’s a format that will never lose its comedy value, the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society are putting on a murder mystery, but unluckily for them, whatever can go wrong, does, as the title suggests, go wrong.

Mischief have produced a slapstick masterpiece. Farce is a challenging genre at the best of times, but with their expert timing, eye for comedy and ear for a good pun, there is little wonder why The Play That Goes Wrong has been performing to sell-out crowds both in the West End and across the UK since 2014. This week the show visits Mold’s Theatr Clwyd, which, while undergoing major renovations is using a rather splendid, fairy-lit marquee as its reception and bar area, continues to look after its audience wonderfully despite its challenges with accommodation.

The Play That Goes Wrong has the audience in fits of laughter from start to finish. The talented cast play members of the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society and from director Chris Bean’s welcoming speech (performed beautifully by Colin Burnicile) to the final bow, there is hardly a moment that goes by without the interruption of laughter from the audience.

The dozen cast members take on a variety of roles within Cornley’s amateur drama group, and anyone who has been involved in amateur dramatics will recognise the stereotypes the characters are drawn from. The performance shy stage managers, the leading man who Acts (definitely with a capital A), the first time performers forgetting their lines and the starlet who is more interested in posing and being in the spotlight than in actually acting. Each performance is genuinely hilarious and the cast embody each role perfectly. We have all seen cringy actors on stage before, but playing a bad actor is a real skill; this talented cast gives the audience a cringeworthy performance they can finally laugh out loud at.

As the show’s title suggests, everything in the show that can go wrong, does go wrong, including for Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’s technical and design team. The ambitious set might as well be held together with tape and its demise leads to a range of skillful stunts from the cast.  Nigel Hook, set designer, has devised an ingenious, interactive set operated by Mischief Theatre’s technical and stage management team, which adds brilliant comic peril to the performance. It’s like a health and safety officer’s worst nightmare, when in truth it is a well engineered comic masterpiece.

The Play That Goes Wrong has been treading the boards for years but is still as fresh, funny and energetic now as it was when it was first produced. If you want an evening of belly laughs and quality entertainment, you can never go wrong with The Play That Goes Wrong.

Runs until 30 April 2022 then continues touring 

The Reviews Hub Score

Quality Entertainment

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The North West team is under the editorship of John Roberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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