Last week, I went to go and see The Play That Goes Wrong at The Kings Theatre in Portsmouth. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the show other than it was a play where things went wrong (who knew?)… But it turned out to be so much funnier and more imaginative than I was ever expecting!
The premise of the show is that we are watching a terrible amateur dramatics society put on a murder mystery play, and that as everything bad that could happen does happen, we’re not supposed to notice as the woefully under-prepared actors valiantly act their way through the chaos without breaking character.
It’s totally hammy and spoofy, and it was a complete and utter joy to watch. Here are some of my thoughts on the play:
~ I have never laughed so hard in the theatre!
I am not really someone who “laughs out loud” that much when I’m watching anything to be honest. I am more of a “smile and chuckle under my breath” kind of girl. However, I just decided to let rip at the Kings and howl with laughter because literally the comedy did not stop and every scene was so consistently funny that it was impossible not to react. Besides, everyone else around me was laughing so hard that it drowned out my own giggling!
~ “Silly” is an understatement…
The only word you can use to describe this play is “Silly”. It’s Silly with a Capital S and very proud of the fact. There is crazy word play, slapstick madness, wacky hijinks and tongue-in-cheek over-acting of the highest degree. There are many spit-takes, explosions, accidents and a line of people pretending to be a telephone line. It’s all very harmless yet incredibly amusing and you will find yourself truly embracing it.
~ The physical comedy is INCREDIBLE
Seriously, these actors are more than just stage performers, they are physical stunt-people! The precision and timing needed to get their scenes right must take so much skill and rehearsal - from navigating falling sets to stage-fighting to being lifted in and out of windows, jumping down from great heights and popping out of secret doors… Not to mention keeping track of the amount of props falling and flying from every angle as well as being aware of where all other characters are running to at any given moment. It was like watching slapstick choreography and I was floored at how every actor made such complicated stage directions appear so effortless.
~ The set is also INCREDIBLE
It genuinely never stops surprising you and all the gags and effects featuring the set and props are priceless. Also, just when you think it can’t possibly get anymore dangerous for the actors up there, it does. I think I screamed about three times.
~ The humour is a little old-fashioned but it works
OK, this isn’t the edgiest kind of humour, it’s family friendly and never gets too dark or cynical. However, it was actually really refreshing to get lost in something so unashamedly goofy and even though the comedy was old-fashioned, the show as a whole felt really fresh and modern due to the execution of it.
~ The pre-show antics are just as funny as the show
When we were in the bar, Trevor the “sound engineer” came rushing through the doors yelling at everyone about a missing dog he was looking for. He then appeared to rush around the whole theatre before “setting up” the stage with help from random members of the audience.
~ The casting is really open-minded and that’s awesome
Two prominent characters in our rendition of the show were played by black actors on the night and I have seen on Twitter that leading roles in other versions of the show have been given to people from a wide range of backgrounds and with many different looks. I love that they are so free and open to what characters can look like and cast based on talent for the role rather than a pre-conceived idea of what a character should look like.
~ I accidentally had a crush on the Butler
I’m not certain who was playing him during my performance but he was sweet and blonde and sort of reminded me of my husband and I wanted to go up and hug him throughout the whole show. I think he was supposed to be portraying an old man so this was slightly alarming.
~ Every character gave it their all
I know it’s a cliche to say the cast gave 110 percent, but they honestly did. From the character Chris having a screaming meltdown mid-way through the show to Max grinning goofily at the crowd with an awe-struck smile during his lines to Robert’s manic loop of spit-taking white spirit onto the floor to the two leading ladies out-acting each other with gusto… The energy was insane! Also special shout-out to Trevor for never once breaking character as he sat in booth above the stage during the whole show playing the distracted sound guy. What a cast!
Overall, this is such a fun romp of a show and if you want an evening of non-stop laughter and silliness then you have to go and give it a watch. The same team are also performing Comedy About A Bank Robbery at the Kings in November and I’ve heard nothing but good things about that one too, so watch out for it!