REVIEW: The Play That Goes Wrong, Opera House, Blackpool

Catherine Dryden as Annie in The Play That Goes Wrong
Catherine Dryden as Annie in The Play That Goes Wrong

It does exactly what it says on the tin: This play goes disastrously wrong at every turn, but not a single person who saw the brilliantly clever comedy’s opening performance in Blackpool will be complaining.

It’s a spectacular display of some of British theatre’s great fortes; farce, murder mystery, spoof and slapstick, which leaves your chuckle muscles aching the next morning.

The Play That Goes Wrong

The Play That Goes Wrong

The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’s production of Murder at Haversham Manor is an absolute shambles, with scenery, sound and lighting disasters, as well as forgotten lines and backstage crew trying to steal the limelight.

But Mischief Theatre’s ensemble cast excells throughout the two-hour display of comic genius - which since its debut in 2012 has gone on to win countless awards and be performed in 27 countries - in both the performance and writing.

It’s a lesson in perfectly choreographed chaos, and the comic timing is immaculate - drawing out some moments to maximum impact and whizzing on to others to keep the laughter pouring from an audience which appreciated every last moment.

You wince as doors and other furnishings smash into faces, and are left hanging - literally at times - waiting for the punchline.

And the attention to detail, which goes right through to the programme - well worth buying, is beyond compare.

I had wondered whether the details of this intricate piece would get lost in the vast Opera House, but judging on the reactions of uproarious mirth, that’s not a problem - and queues at the box office showed no one was put off by the potential issue.

* The Play That Goes Wrong, Opera House, Blackpool, until Saturday, 01253 625252