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The Play That Goes Wrong provides plenty of raucous laughter at the Cambridge Arts Theatre

The Play That Goes Wrong 2018 tour
The Play That Goes Wrong 2018 tour

This phenomenally successful smash-hit comedy is on until Saturday

The Play That Goes Wrong 2018 tour
The Play That Goes Wrong 2018 tour

A ‘play within a play’, The Play That Goes Wrong is a laugh-out-loud piece – brought to you by the Mischief Theatre company – also currently running in the West End.

It tells the story of the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’s staging of a 1920s murder mystery but, as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong does.

Before the actual play started, actors playing stage-hands actively looked for a ‘lost dog’, immediately creating a sense of farce. Parts of the set fell apart and an audience member was brought up on stage to ‘help’.

The ‘director’ of Murder at Haversham Manor – the ‘play within a play’ being staged by the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society – came out and talked about previous productions and the budget constraints which saw them renamed – with very entertaining results.

The Play That Goes Wrong 2018 tour
The Play That Goes Wrong 2018 tour

Right from the off, the brilliant cast had the audience in stitches. Although he was playing a dead body, Steven Rostance as Jonathan/Charles Haversham had a very demanding physical role, particularly in the first half – one in which he excelled.

The cast delivered their lines very well and the physical acting – helped by the set gradually falling apart – was highly amusing.

Special mention must go to Liam Horrigan, one of the understudies who for this performance played the part of Max/Cecil Haversham. With his exaggerated movements and hilarious and innocent facial expressions, his outstanding performance made me laugh out loud more than anyone else.

The play gradually got more manic as the second half went on – the violent rivalry between the two female characters was another great ongoing gag – and the creativity behind the ever more outlandish descent into near-anarchy must be seen to be fully appreciated.

The Play That Goes Wrong 2018 tour
The Play That Goes Wrong 2018 tour

Joanna Lumley said of The Play That Goes Wrong: “We laughed until the tears ran down our faces” and, although I wouldn’t go quite that far, I would wholeheartedly recommend this play.

The Play That Goes Wrong is on today (Thursday) at 2.30pm and 7.45pm, tomorrow at 7.45pm and then on Saturday, June 2, again at 2.30pm and 7.45pm.

Tickets: £20-£35

Box office: 01223 503333 or cambridgeartstheatre.com.

The Mischief Theatre Company will be returning to the Arts Theatre for Mischief Movie Night from Tuesday, June 19 to Saturday, June 23.


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