Review by Lauryn Angel
Imagine watching a play with performers who embody the worst acting stereotypes. Complicate that with a set and props that continually malfunction. It sounds like the last way you’d want to spend your time, but on the contrary, The Play That Goes Wrong is not to be missed!
The premise is simple: The Cornley University Drama Society debuts their production of The Murder at Haversham Manor – a traditional drawing-room whodunit. The characters in this fictional play are all flat stereotypes, but when combined with the hyperbolically bad performances of the Cornley University Drama Society, they are tremendously funny. Even the corpse, Charles Haversham/Jonathan Harris (Yaegel T. Welch), provokes laughter. And then there are the bumbling stage manager Annie Twilloil (Angela Grovey) and Duran Duran-obsessed Lighting and Sound Operator, Trevor Watson (Brandon J. Ellis). (On a side note, I was not prepared for so much – nay, any – Duran Duran in a murder mystery set in the 1920s.)
A lot of the comedy is physical, as the actors have to contend with a set that is constantly falling apart in increasingly hilarious ways. This is coupled with hilariously overdone characters, like the histrionic femme fatale Florence Colleymoore/Sandra Wilkinson (Jamie Ann Romero) and her bombastic brotherThomas Colleymoore/Robert Grove (Peyton Crim).
The show is two hours, with a twenty-minute intermission between acts, and the time flew by. I laughed pretty much the entire time, as did the rest of the audience. At times, the laughter was raucous that it was difficult to hear the actors. There was even a bit of audience participation – although I’m not entirely convinced that wasn’t part of the show.
To say any more would really do the show a disservice. I went in not knowing much about the show except that my friend enjoyed it when she saw it in New York City a few weeks ago. I really think that’s the best way to approach it, really. Just know that it’s a hilarious show with an incredibly talented cast that is well worth your time.
The Play That Goes Wrong is at the Winspear Opera House through June 16. Catch it before it moves on!