i'D BEEN LOOKING FOR...OH BLOODY HELL. WHERE'S THE Key? Ah. There we go. I'd been looking forward to this for some time, as I don't get to the theatre that often, and I'd heard good things about this. It was very definitely worth the wait.
The Play That Goes Wrong is set up as a low budget, amateur production of a murder mystery, set in the walls of Haversham Manor. It effectively has two casts, the actual actors and the characters they're supposed to be playing. <php include("jokes.php");?> < Error, "humour" not found.> The intended characters run the usual whodunnit set, including a detective, butler, femme fatale, jealous fiancees and siblings, and fairly importantly a victim.
The actual characters include overly enthusiastic newbies, neurotic directors, forgetful note scribblers, jealous understudies, overly enthusiastic newbies, neurotic directors, forgetful note scribblers, jealous understudies, overly enthusiastic newbies(?), neurotic directors, forgetful note scribblers, jealous understudies, overly enthusiastic newbies, neurotic directors, forgetful note scribblers...and a missing dog.
The play is relatively shallow, in that you're not going to get significant emotional response (except for hunching over belly laughing), but it stands very well as a farce. Every joke gets at least a chuckle, and I did have to regularly sew up my sides.
There's also a pleasing spread of types of humour. The director does a fine line in slowly cracking under the pressure, with whispered stage directions getting increasingly high pitched, and mispronunciations causing him to twitch. The warring leads are also delightful, as they take over-acting to an art form, and provide one of the most stereotypical farce moments.
There's also a surprising amount of wordplay in what is a very slapstick heavy performance, mainly in the form of scripted lines being set up as the opposite of actual on-stage action. That's not to imply that the slapstick is inferior, however. It is technically marvelous, and combines both human movements and scenery issues. I especially enjoyed the balcony scene.
It builds to a chaotic climax, which did give me my one final gripe. While the background plot (the play they're meant to be putting on) isn't really the point, I was interested in hearing the conclusion. Unfortunately, that did tend to be overshadowed by madness such that it wasn't really possible.
Still, an excellent evening's entertainment, with fun fourth wall breaking, that I would happily suggest to anyone who wants a farcical presentation of a murder mystery at the amateur level.