The Play That Goes Wrong is a play that began its London West End run in 2014, and is now touring New Zealand. It’s playing at the Opera House in Wellington, as well as Christchurch and Auckland. As the title suggests, it does not run smoothly.
For dinner, we headed to fave haunt Zibbibo for steak and risotto. Tasty grub, as usual.
Now read on for spoiler alerts…
The play centres on The Cornley Polytechnic Dramatic Society’s production of The Murder At Haversham Manor, a 1920’s murder mystery. It starts with a search for a lost dog, and a stage hand desperately trying (and failing) to fix a mantelpiece on the stage set, before the play opens. The sound technician then makes an appeal to the audience to return a missing personal item if they come across it, as it belongs to him. Then the first-time director comes on stage to introduce the play; due to a large bequest they have rather more funds to stage this play than has been the case in the past, leading to such previous productions as The Lion & The Wardrobe; Cat; and James & The Peach.
Finally, the play opens, with the discovery of the body of Jonathon in his private quarters. He is discovered as he is late for his engagement party, due to take place that evening at Haversham Manor. Immediately, things start to go wrong, largely due to the ineptitude and lack of acting ability of the cast. The backstage crew aren't much better, although the stage manager does sterling work with the candlesticks and later takes a fuller part in the proceedings; and it becomes clear that the sound technician has found his lost item. As the set is also working against them, the actors are forced to improvise in order to continue with the play. The main door, in particular, causes the most problems. Most of the rest of the props also fail, in some cases spectacularly. The cast’s consumption of whisky also leads to much hilarity.
At times, we could hardly hear what the actors were saying, such was the noise of laughter and applause from the audience, following a particularly noteworthy escape from the difficulties imposed by their circumstances. The actors obliged by waiting for us to finish and even repeating lines – something they often had to do anyway, as the next actor missed their cue.
As things go further and further awry, the cast doggedly persist to get through to the end, and the denouement of the murderer.
A jolly night out, catch it if you can!