Have you ever been to a theatre production that made you laugh so hard you started crying? If not, then go see Mischief Theatre’s much-loved meta-comedy The Play That Goes Wrong at the Wales Millenium Centre.
The play in question, at the centre of its conceit, is titled The Murder At Haversham Manor; purporting to have been written by Susie H.K. Brideswell, in reality, a fictional author, and performed by the equally fictional Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society, it’s a 1920s murder mystery comedy that opens with the slaying of Charles Haversham on the night of his engagement to Florence Colleymoore. The CPDS are gamely attempting to do it justice, but suffice to say they put the amateur in ‘amateur theatre company’, and the result is slapstick and farce.
The acting was cleverly done, earning constant laughter around the Donald Gordon Theatre. The sound effects only added to this, including when the cast messed up; this was further enhanced by special effects including fire, things falling, and the study floor, lighting and walls all collapsing or conking out. Tonight’s audience reactions were spectacular: laughter, whistling and clapping, even at insults in the very direction of Wales and after being told to “shut up”. (This latter incident was prompted by a child in the audience telling a cast member where the ledger was.)
A wonderfully comedic night, I laughed until I couldn’t breathe, particularly when Charles Haversham kept coming back onstage and moving around at points where, according to the play’s directions, he was dead. Florence Colleymore, meanwhile, is played by two different actors, as a result of fellow cast members appearing to have knocked her unconscious by hitting her with random objects during certain scenes.
By its nature, The Play That Goes Wrong is overacted but remains believable due to its cast, whose comedic abilities were rewarded with a standing ovation by the audience.
Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay, Mon 13 June
On until Sat 18 June. Tickets: £15.50. Info: here
words CHLOE SUMMERS for BUZZ CULTURE
APPLICATIONS for spring term 22 are now Closed: If you’re 18-30, live in Wales, and want to get ahead in the creative and cultural industries, express your interest for autumn term.