Original direction by Mark Bill
Australian cast direction by Sean Turner
Lunchbox Theatrical Productions
Roslyn Packer Theatre
22 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay
Season: 5 - 23 April then return season from 16 - 21 May
The Play That Goes Wrong – a rather self-explanatory title that pretty much sums up the show’s premise. It’s a show that does what it promises, and does it well. An amateur dramatics group are putting on a murder mystery, and everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. But these amateurs are absolute troopers, committed to their cause, and they continue with this murder mystery at all costs – collapsing sets, lost lines, knocked out cast members and all. It’s an outrageous farce with premium physical theatre, and if that’s what you desire in a night of theatre, then you’ll get it with a roar.
Before you even enter the theatre you receive a taste of what you’re in for with this show. I can’t fault them on their commitment. There is a running joke that these highly trained actors are bumbling around, praying to get through this show unscathed. There’s lots of action, it’s pretty funny, and because there’s always so much going on you’re easily engaged the whole show. I was impressed with their creation of such high stakes so that even if you’re sitting back in your chair, not totally enraptured by the show, you still can’t help but hold your breath to see if an actor will make it through a scene.
The cast feels united in their common quest to get through the show, and the energy in their performances is top-notch. I was pretty amazed at their stamina. The cast as a collective seem highly in sync and this warm co-operation, in spite of snide character competitiveness to shine in the show, gets the audience on side and makes you care about their success. Nigel Hook’s set design is on point, with a slight amateur aesthetic and yet constructed impeccably to allow for a feeling of near-collapse, instigating havoc amongst the cast.
The Play That Goes Wrong is a production that has been crafted and finessed for consistent laughter and enjoyment. It’s not a deep or thought-provoking night at the theatre and it’s mainly an extrapolation of a single premise – a lot of stuff keeps going wrong. But it is done so well in the production that the audience was in fits of laughter everywhere around me and I couldn’t help but enjoy myself. Theatre really can be fun, too.