Skip to content

The Play That Goes Wrong

On Saturday afternoon I went to the matinée of the current play that’s on at Malvern Theatres. It was on at the Edinburgh Festival, then in the West End, and now seems to be on tour. It’s called The Play That Goes Wrong and is effectively a farce, so I really should have known better.

The plot, such as it is, involves the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society putting on an over-ambitious staging of a 1920s murder mystery, Murder at Haversham Manor. Everything that could possibly go wrong does so – actors forget their lines, props are mislaid, the set collapses around them, several of the cast members are knocked unconscious, the dog runs away, stage hands are roped in to play leading roles – you name it, it happens. And of course, being a farce, several people end up hiding in a wardrobe – or rather, within the case of a Grandfather Clock.

It was yet another example of the genre where fairly good actors pretend to be really crap amateur actors – except in this case the plot was so thin that none of them actually got to show off any genuine acting skills. In fact, the most genuine dramatic moment of the afternoon was when I was queuing for an ice cream in the interval, and they ran out of my favourite Honey & Ginger flavour, so I had to choose Devon Toffee instead!

It was total and utter crap – with the saving grace that it was actually laugh-out-loud funny. I very nearly walked out at the interval, but decided to stay to see if my predictions about which bit of the set would collapse next were accurate. They were.

Thank goodness I only went to the matinée, and only bought a cheap seat to boot. I’d have been really fed up if I’d paid top price and given up an evening for such rubbish. As it was it was quite a cheerful, and extremely undemanding, way of spending an afternoon. And the ice-cream was nice!