The art of getting it wrong

Curtain call of chaos
Curtain call of chaos

The Play That Goes Wrong

Lyceum

If your chuckle muscles aren’t in good shape before this play they will be afterwards because you won’t stop laughing. It’s a hoot. I haven’t laughed as much since One Man, Two Guvnors.

If you caught Peter Pan Goes Wrong on the telly, by the same company, Mischief Theatre, you’ll know the score: fluffed lines, falling scenery, dodgy props, missed cues and, as for the acting, enough ham on stage to keep the company in sandwiches for a year.

This show is just over two hours long and I didn’t count a minute when there wasn’t at least a giggle. Of course, as with Les Dawson playing the piano badly, you have to be very good and have excellent timing to be so awful.

This West End and Broadway hit is a play within a play. An am dram theatre company perform Murder at Haversham Manor but I’ve never seen one before where the corpse (Jason Callender) has to get himself off stage when things go wrong.

Actors are knocked out cold by opening doors (leading lady Meg Mortell has a cat fight with stage manager stand-in Katie Bernstein when she comes round), there’s a hopeless stage technician (Graeme Rooney) while Matthew Howell, as the police inspector, plays him with a touch of Basil Fawlty. Bulky Edward Judge does some balletic but dangerous stagework.

The whole set looks like it could collapse at any moment. And, of course, it eventually does.

It’s on until Saturday.

Martin Dawes