Tha Pley that GoWes RONG at Birmingham Rep

By Julie Wallis

Tha Pley that GoWes rong at Birmingham Rep

The Play that goes wrong is at Birmingham Rep until 24th June and it is so very very right.

It’s incredibly complicated to try to explain but it’s incredibly easy to watch. The show starts before the audience have even left the bar area, with actors from Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society running through the bar asking if anyone has seen Winston the friendly spaniel. Cornley poly is a fictional am dram group, but that didn’t stop Chris Bean, the director, designer, box office manager, press & pr, fight choreography and voice coach to name a few of his roles from coming over to introduce himself.

-®helenmurray2017 The Play That Goes Wrong UK-Ireland Tour 2017-420
The Play That Goes Wrong photo by Helen Murray

Patrick Warner plays Chris Bean, Chris Bean plays the detective and here’s where it gets complicated to introduce to you dear reader via the medium of the written word.

The play that goes wrong is set now, BUT the play that fictional am dram group Cornley Poly drama society are performing is set in the 1920s. Charles has been found dead, Charles is played by Jonathan and Jonathan is played by Jason Callander, are you with me so far?…… Charles’ fiancé Florence is heartbroken, or is she? Florence is played by Sandra and Sandra is played by Meg Mortell, I think you get the gist. I laughed at the backstage conversations that we were not supposed to hear, and I adored the lighting tec Trevor, played by Graeme Rooney, who missed lighting cues, misplayed music and put out a request for his missing Duran Duran box set CD to be returned.

With so many belly laughs guaranteed this is without a doubt the very funniest and certainly the cleverest play I have ever seen. This play could so easily have been called Murphy’s law, as everything that could go wrong, really did go wrong. They do what any actor worth his or her salt would do, they improvise, just as they improvise when lines are forgotten, props are missing and the set is crumbling all around them. This is a genuinely hilarious comedy masterpiece.

The Play That Goes Wrong 2017-275_c Helen Murray
The Play That Goes Wrong photo by Helen Murray

If you like Victoria Wood’s Acorn Antiques, if you like Spamalot then you will absolutely love The Play That Goes Wrong as there was definite inspiration from all of the above. This is silly, it’s farcical and it’s incredibly British, but it’s also very very clever and funny beyond belief.

I don’t think there was a moment when there wasn’t at least one audience member chuckling. Throw in a little audience participation and this play is beyond superb, I honestly have never laughed so much and I’d go to see this again in a heartbeat, The Play That Goes Wrong is a new modern classic that it deserves to run and run and run because it really is the play that goes right all night.

The cast are all amazing, funny and very believable, the set is just the one set, that being the room that Charles is found dead in, Katie Bernstein as Annie (understudy Florence) has some great comedy moments and was most certainly channelling her inner Victoria Woods with the comedy northern accent and Alastair Kirton, playing Max (playing Cecil) had me laughing and gasping and groaning in equal measure.

If you have never seen a play where the corpse moves his hand when he gets trodden on once too many times, or moves his neck so as to have his pulse taken, or carpet crawls across the set when he was supposed to have been ‘stretchered out’ but the stretcher broke and he needs to ‘exit stage right’ then, do yourself a massive favour, go and see The Play That Goes Wrong, and you won’t do far from wrong.

The Play That Goes Wrong 2017-67_C Helen Murray
The Play That Goes Wrong photo by Helen Murray

See The Play That Goes Wrong at Birmingham Rep until Saturday 24th June. Tickets are available here:

Julie and #BrumHour were invited to see The Play That Goes Wrong by Birmingham Rep and this is Julie’s honestly held view.