London/NY/LA Theatre: The Play That Goes Wrong Review – Uproarious, Laugh Out Loud Funny

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The Play that Goes Wrong, the Broadway and West End smash hit, presents an award-winning comedy as The Cornley Polytechnic Drama society stages a 1920's murder mystery, and lives the adage the show must go on!

Arriving at the Duchess Theater, in the famed West End theatre district, a few minutes before curtain, I noticed the players frantically running through the audience looking for a missing dog, one of the most important props for the show has taken flight. Unsure of where the pooch fits it, one can only hopes it shows up before its scene.

However, as the title suggests this seems to be the first in a comedy of errors. The clock is ticking down to the 7:30 PM start and the stagehands are working out the last-minute kinks (and as we see there are many) unfortunately the hammer separates and the floorboard will just have to be. (Hopefully no one steps on it just right or it will be disastrous or hilarious).


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For a simple introduction the cast is playing a cast. The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society (CPDS), a fictitious troupe of thespians are staging a 1920's murder mystery. Each of the characters are playing two characters. The drama society character and the part each have been cast in the play.

Jake Curran plays both Chris Bean, a member of the CPDS, and is cast as Inspector Carter and serves as the show's director, designer, costume designer, prop maker, box office manager, press & PR person, dramaturgy, voice coach, dialect coach, and fight choreographer and filled in for the role of Mr. Fitzroy during rehearsals

Steven Rostance, plays CPDS member Jonathan, and is cast as the audience sees him as Charles Haversham. Kazeem Tosin Amore, plays CPDS member Robert Grove and is cast as Thomas Colleymoore during the production. Benjamin McMahon, plays CPDS member Dennis Tyde, and is cast as Perkins.

Elena Valentine plays CPDS member Sandra Wilkinson and is cast as Florence Colleymoore. Bobby Hirston, plays CPDS member Max and is cast in the production as both Cecil Haversham andArthur the Gardener. Gabriel Paul plays CPDS member Trevor and takes on the role as the lighting and sound operator during the production. Catherine Dryden plays CPDS member Annie Twilloil and the stage manager during the production.


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With all that said, the theatre finally goes dark and in the spotlight we see Chris Bean, played by Jake Curran, who is offering up his apologies on the off chance this fledgling production doesn't quite meet the expectations, as some of the company's previous attempts at staging a production have . . .well . . yes . . . um . . left some wondering.

Tonight, however seems different somehow. Soon the play begins.

Charles Haversham, played by Steven Rostance, has been murdered. (Shock, pause.) On the night of his engagement party, in his own home. The cast of characters in true Agatha Christie or Milton Bradley's Clue style, are each suspect. Is it the femme fatale fiance, Florence Colleymoore? Cecil Haversham, the brother of the deceased? His long-time servant, Perkins? Best friend and brother of his fiance, Thomas Colleymoore?

There is only one person who can unravel this treacherous mystery, the great Inspector Carter, played by Jake Curran.

It will take two hours of mishaps and mayhem to unravel this whodunit and bring the guilty party to justice.


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Having had the opportunity to see The Play That Goes Wrong while recently in London, it was every bit as funny as billed, and to see this troupe maneuver the pitfalls and pratfalls of a working set, to create this hysterical comedy was truly genius comedic talent.

Each of the fictitious Cornley Polytechnic Drama society members have personalities that shine through when least expected as they maintain the duality of characters throughout.

The dueling actress who play Sandra Wilkinson who plays Florence Colleymore, known for her episodes ends up in an onstage challenge. Cecil Haversham, played by CPDS character Max continually breaks the fourth wall, pausing and waiting for the audience to award his performance with overwhelming applause. And they do.

American audiences throughout the US will have the chance to enjoy The Play The Goes Wrong as the international tour has the show coming to major cities across the nation and stopping in Los Angeles in July. In New York it has moved off-Broadway and in London it is still running at the Duchess Theatre.


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Co-written by Mischief Theatre company members Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields, The Play That Goes Wrong introduces The Cornley University Drama Society, who are attempting to put on a 1920's murder mystery, but everything that can go wrong does, as the accident-prone thespians battle on against all odds to get to their final curtain call.

The production is directed by Mark Bell, with set designs by Nigel Hook, lighting by Ric Mountjoy, sound design by Andy Johnson, and costumes by Roberto Surace.

The Play That Goes Wrong is certainly doing something right as a recent press release indicated tickets are on sale through May 2020. With Mama Mia just down the street, and bigger names around the corner, the little murder mystery that could fits the bill and fills the evening with side-splitting laughter, surprises, and slapstick comedy.

The Play That Could Go Wrong is an uproarious rollicking good time!

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