Press Review: The Play That Goes Wrong at the Alexandra Theatre

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse…

The smash hit West End show is at The Alexandra Theatre this week and The Bloke went along to watch. 

The Cornley Drama Society are putting on a 1920s murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong… does! As the accident prone amateur thesps battle on against all the odds to reach their final curtain call, hilarious results ensue!

Welcome to a tongue in cheek performance of a ‘whodunnit it,’ which from the very start seems destined to fail. From the very beginning the audience quickly learns to expect the unexpected even before the house light are dimmed, when the tech guy Trevor (Gabriel Paul) started asking about a missing french bulldog who has apparently escaped and is somewhere in the theatre.

An intro by Chris (Colin Burnicle), the long suffering and desperate to succeed director, paints a picture of a slightly amateur, but eager band of actors. 

They’re a great group of actors, playing the roles of amateur actors in this ‘play within a play,’ and they do it brilliantly. 

A fantastic display of great physical comedy as several characters from Steven Rostance. With very few lines in most of the first half until his untimely entry near the end, moving around the stage trying to avoid being injured and fumbling the scene changes. 

Enter Thomas Colleymoore (Kazeem Tosin Amore) as Thomas Colleymoore, a wonderful caricature of a country gentleman, gradually losing the plot as time goes on with hilarious outbursts of frustration and dismay as cast members crumble and props wreak havoc on stage. This is a role that not only calls for quality acting abilities, but also physical agility as Amore finds himself supporting multiple props with his limbs, while still delivering comical dialogue. Accompanied by bumbling butler Dennis (Damien James), whose portrayal of an unprepared actor, missing his cue, forgetting dialogue and mispronunciation of words was wonderfully entertaining throughout. Don’t ever let him serve you a drink, you’ll know what I mean when you see the play. Edi De Melo, who plays Max, aka Cecil, delivers an excellent image of the inexperienced actor who is overwhelmed by his excitement of being on stage, often playing to the audience and dropping out of character when given recognition. Aisha Numah and Beth Lilly are equally hilarious – Numah’s physical comedy as she is knocked out was particularly impressive as some of the performers attempt to drag her through a window. 

This well-knit cast obviously know the plot, their dialogue and the stage set inside out to be able to deliver such comic timing and sometimes what seems to be almost life-threatening scenery malfunctions; at one point I genuinely though two of the actors were in serious trouble, but it turned out to be part of the act, which they delivered with great realism, yet made it humorous at the same time. This is not just actors cracking jokes on stage, this is fast paced, physical comedy at its best.

The brilliance of The Play That Goes Wrong is that, in fact, everything goes right. A perfect example of slapstick comedy, impeccable comic timing and a well-rehearsed chaos, that only comes from many hours of practise and experience, brilliantly executed by a wonderful cast.

Not one to be missed!

The Play That Goes Wrong is on stage at The Alexandra Theatre from Mon 16th May – Sat 21st May. Purchase your tickets here

Image Credits: Helen Snell

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