THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG: 4****, Birmingham & Tour to 12 August

Birmingham & Tour
THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG: ; Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, Henry Shields
Birmingham Rep: The House, and Touring to 12 August 2017

Runs 2h, on interval
Bham Rep BO: 0121 236 4455
Information, tickets:

Review: Rod Dungate, 19 June 2017



A whopping romp, a whopping tonic for our times
THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG surfaced at the Edinburgh Festival, a group of young actors and others hoping to make their mark and kick start their careers. It’s form is not entirely new but, because it’s funny (very funny) it became a bit of a hit and has been performing ever since.

The idea is simple, a college drama group sets out on a performance of a nail-biting thriller. As the title of the play-outside-the-play tells us, everything goes wrong releasing much warm-hearted comedy.

What makes this play particularly enjoyable is the way the jokes are used. It’s very much physical and visual humour. But each joke is played, replayed, remodelled and played again so there is delight, not only in the joke, but also in the creativity and invention of the re-appearances. Even further delight is gained from a sense of anticipation of a piece of physical comedy presenting itself once more.

Two of the stars of the production are set and props, which fall, break, snap, topple, jam, wobble and collapse with robust abandon. But whatever these do, they can never upstage the talented acting ensemble company. Such a play as this could easily be marred by self-indulgence, but not this one. The acting is as taut and well-hones as the stage business. Characters may be so over-the-top they are disappearing over the horizon, but each one is firmly and crucially supported with great seriousness of intent. And that, in major part, is from where this glorious comedy stems.

Trevor: Graeme Rooney
Chris: Patrick Warner
Jonathan: Jason Cellender
Dennis: Adam Byron
Claire Rice: Natasha Culley
Arthur Ingleberry: James Waterson
Doris Henderson: Helena Muir
Jimbo Jones: Matthew Howell

Director: Mark Bell
Set Designer: Nigel Hook
Lighting Design: Ric Mountjoy
Costume Design: Roberto Surace
Sound Design: Andy Johnson

2017-06-20 14:32:58

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