The Play That Goes Wrong – Review – Leeds Grand
The Play That Goes Wrong – Review
Leeds Grand, May 2017
by Daniel Roach
The Play That Goes Wrong crashes spectacularly into Leeds Grand Theatre delivering exactly what the title suggests, a play that goes, quite perfectly, wrong.
Whilst relaxing with a drink in the halls before the show, the Stage Director (Chris Bean) runs in frantically looking for a missing dog. All rather unusual. After a couple more sips I wonder, was this real life, or actually part of the show?
The play within the chaos of The Play That Goes Wrong centres around a whodunnit murder mystery at Haversham Manor. Inspector Carter (also played by Chris Bean) leads the investigation into the murder of Charles Haversham (Jonathan Harris).
Haversham’s a kind, rich man who is murdered on the day of his engagement party. As the curtain rises Mr Haversham isn’t quite in position and hastily lies down, spreading his arms and closing his eyes. It’s the first belly laugh on a night of uproar both on and off the stage.
“Comic choreography and timing is masterful”
The whole cast are nothing short of superb. Fabulous, comedic actors who manage to play dual roles as the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society (the fictional am-dram group staging the murder mystery play) and as the cast of ‘Murder at Haversham Manor’.
Almost all scenes are hilarious, but during one particularly memorable scene Florence Colleymoore (Sandra Wilkinson) is expressing her emotions about her fiancé’s death when she is knocked out after being hit in the face by a door.
Despite this, the actors continue their lines, looking perplexed at having a full conversation to no response. They even continue when the back stage crew pull the unconscious actress through a window at the back of the stage. This scene is pivotal in the performance and really does make you laugh until it hurts. Sure, everything goes wrong – but the comic choreography and complex timing is masterful.
In another scene, the ceiling from the upstairs office falls down. The actors continue to act out lines whilst holding furniture together to stop it falling into the set below.
This really is a family play that can be enjoyed by any age and is guaranteed to put a smile on your face from beginning to end. You wonder what bells and whistles super director JJ Abrams is going to bring to the Broadway version.
Oh – and the actor looking for the dog before curtain-up? Very much integral to the show, of course…