The Play That Goes Wrong
Curve Theatre, Leicester
Director: Mark Bell
Writers: Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, Henry Shields
5 / 5
This review won’t be as extensive in relation to the plot as my previous review of this play to avoid repeating myself. This will be more of a commentary of the brilliant acting done by the new set of actors.
There were some differences that I noticed between the two casts, and I’m not talking about their appearances! There seemed to be more emphasis on audience involvement, most notably Cecil Haversham’s character. I noticed a lot more facial expressions directed towards the audience to illicit laughter, as well as more over-the-top acting whether on stage or backstage flinging ‘snow’ in the air. I quite enjoyed this method adopted by Alastair Kirton, as it helped to create a steady flow of laughter even when there was no action happening, he would just smile and wave to the audience and everyone would be fits in laughter.
Both Meg Mortell (Florence) and Katie Bernstein (Stage Manager/Understudy) were both brilliant. Their competitiveness towards the end was side-splitting. Mortell was impressive as Florence Collymore, her “episodes” were particularly funny, especially as they illicited some great reactions by other members of the cast. When Mortell was knocked out, Bernstein reluctantly stepped into the role and she provided a different type of comedy. Her reluctancy and lack of knowledge of the role led to her deadpan delivery of her lines, which brought yet more laughter from the audience. After the initial deadpan acting (hilarious), Bernstein’s character began to revel in her new role with her happiness completely infectious to the audience. Gone had gone the deadpan delivery, in came enthusiasm . However, despite both Mortell and Bernstein being equally good as an individual Florence, the both of them together on stage made a great double act. The physical comedy between the pair was choreographed very well and acted out perfectly.
Patrick Warner (Inspector Carter) played his dual parts of the Inspector and Director spiffingly well indeed. His delivery of punchlines when doing the opening monologue and the after-interval speech. I have been quoting these speeches to friends in my bid to persuade them to go to the Nottingham date (yes I want to go again!). Another thoroughly enjoyable aspect of Warner’s performance was whenever the Director in him burst out due to fellow actors’ ‘mistakes’. He acted that part well as the gradual build up of mishaps visually disintegrated any attempts to remain in his Inspector character at times.
Thomas Collymore and Perkins were two of my favourite characters in the London production of this play, and Edwards Judge and Howells did brilliantly to replicate the feelings I had for those characters. Judge’s delayed reactions to situations for comedic effect was fantastic. I can’t stress that enough. The physical and set comedy had me in stitches as he tries to act his part out despite the precarious situations he gets into in order to hold the set together. Howells added a bit more of audience interaction in a similar fashion to Kirton’s Cecil character did. Whenever the audience laughed at the incorrect pronunciation of words, his anguished face only added to the raucous laughter. Both Edwards seemed very suited to their roles indeed.
Finally, Jason Callender (Charles) and Graeme Rooney (Trevor) both excelled in their roles as the ‘deceased fiance’ and lighting and sound operator. Despite both of these characters having limited acting time compared to the others, their performances were top notch. Rooney performed his cheeky role very well, and whenever he came on stage he brought the house down. But the person that caused wide swathes of the audience to go into hysterics was Callender’s Charles. Without saying a word, his actions and mistakes as a ‘dead man’ brought prolonged applause every time. I’m pretty sure the person next to me had a button fly off his cardigan through his laughter! I also confess to doing a snort or two when Charles did another one of his interruption mistakes.
The Play That Goes Wrong on Tour cast have done remarkably well to fill the shoes of the exceptional cast that established the comedy as a West End and Broadway must-see. I also think that each of the actors have done well to add something slightly different to the role to make it their own, and I am very hopeful of getting the chance to seeing them perform again as I want to drag my friends to see it!
If you are interested in seeing the play, please check the website and look for a date that is near you!
The Humpo Show | Richard