Presented by Mischief Theatre
By Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields
Directed by Mark Bell
Cast: Matthew Cavendish, Bryony Corrigan, Rob Falconer, Dave Hearn, Henry Lewis, Charlie Russell, Jonathan Sayer, Henry Shields, Greg Tannahill, Nancy Zamit
Scenic Design: Nigel Hook
Costume Design: Roberto Surace
Lighting Design: Ric Mountjoy
Sound Design: Andy Johnson
First Performance March 9, 2017
Opening April 2, 2017
Submit a review for The Play That Goes Wrong
Co-written by Mischief Theatre company members Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ is a riotous comedy about the theatre. The play introduces The ‘Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’ who are attempting to put on a 1920s’ murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong…does, as the accident prone thespians battle on against all the odds to get to their final curtain call.
When the show opened in the West End, The Independent raved “Exquisitely choreographed mayhem,” The Financial Times called it “A joyous show that builds to a glorious climax,” The Times of London dubbed the comedy “A masterpiece of malfunction,” while The Daily Mail gasped “I feared I was going to hyperventilate” in their five star review and The New York Times called it “a gut busting hit.”
Awarded 2015 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, 2014 Whatsonstage Best New Comedy and 2015 UK Broadwayworld Best New Play Awards, The Play That Goes Wrong is now in its third smash hit year on the West End and has announced a national tour that will visit 30 venues across throughout the UK through July 2017.
It is a remarkable rags-to-riches story for a play which started its life at a London fringe venue with only four paying members of the public at the first performance, and has gone on to play to an audience of over half a million around the world.
Ben Brantley – New York Times
Revisiting it at the Lyceum, after a restful weekend, my responses were more tempered. That’s partly because I think the cast is pushing harder to win over us subtlety-challenged Americans. In any case, my reactions ranged between thinking this play was exhaustingly funny to finding it just plain exhausting.
Frank Rizzo – Variety
The show must go on — but in the Broadway transfer of West End hit “The Play That Goes Wrong,” forgotten lines, lost props, technical gaffes and rebellious scenery all seem to reply, “Oh no it doesn’t.” This broad, silly and deliciously demented show, about a fictitious amateur theatrical group with great resilience and greater incompetency, is by the Brit trio of Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields in a style that evokes “Fawlty Towers” with nods to Buster Keaton, Carol Burnett and Monty Python. Under the go-for-broke direction of Mark Bell, its high-energy cast is comic gold and manages to sustain, with a never-ending series of diversionary tactics, its one-joke concept.
Frank Scheck – The Hollywood Reporter
Something went wrong for me at The Play That Goes Wrong. For more than two hours, I managed only a few chuckles while hundreds of people surrounding me were laughing uproariously. Humor is obviously very subjective, but the experience was nonetheless a bit humbling, especially considering the comic mayhem on display was perfectly executed.
Chris Jones – Chicago Tribune
And it is that relentless constancy that sets this endeavor apart from other entries in the twin, mostly clapped-out genres that it so guilelessly taps — the backstage comedy and the mystery farce with the aristocratic characters. Why? Because “The Play That Goes Wrong,” which was written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields and has arrived on Broadway after West End success, goes wrong so many times, in such mellifluous ways, and with such far-gone commitment to physical comedy. The relationship between comedy and pain is much discussed. But while most people will leave “The Play That Goes Wrong” thinking they’ve just spent two hours in a world utterly removed from the cares of the American moment, which would be true, the deeper truth in play here is that they will have watched a show that really is about the theater’s long-standing relationship with blind terror.
Joe Dziemianowicz – NY Daily News
It’s also the stuff that makes for a funny 10-minute skit. Carol Burnett knew that. Unfortunately, there’s another hour-and-a-half to go in this show. That’s a lot of time to spend trying to grin and bear it.
Isabella Biedenharn – Entertainment Weekly
The Play That Goes Wrong, Broadway’s latest Olivier Award-winning West End import, actually starts before its official show time — setting the tone for an immersive, hilarious evening the minute you set foot in the Lyceum Theatre.
Mark Shenton – The Stage
The result is not just the funniest play on Broadway at the moment, but also one that demonstrates that the London fringe can still act as a launch pad to bigger things. Broadway is sure to take this show to its heart. A long run seems likely.
Jeremy Gerard – Deadline
An overabundance of non-sensical sight gags, slow burns, pratfalls, missed cues, wink-winks and the like dull the viewer’s senses and drag out a sophomoric sketch that would be sharper and funnier at an intermissionless 80 minutes. On the other hand, staged with more commitment than panache by Mark Bell, The Play That Goes Wrong aspires to no higher goal than escapism untainted by North Korea, Trump, Putin, the opening of the baseball season, Neil Gorsuch, and possibly striking writers. As George W. Bush said, mission accomplished.
Matthew Murray – Talkin’ Broadway
The Play That Goes Wrong, which just opened at the Lyceum, is funny. No, scratch that: It’s very funny, with more gags per minute—per second?—than any new comedy in recent memory. It’s so loaded with every stage mishap imaginable—missed cues, screwed-up entrances, uncooperative doors, disintegrating set pieces, actors getting knocked unconscious, last-minute cast changes, huge line mistakes, and on and on and on—that there’s no way not to laugh, almost continuously, at the spectacle of silliness unfolding before you.
Thom Geier – The Wrap
And like many an amateur production of the sort this show sends up, “The Play That Goes Wrong” sometimes threatens to outstay its welcome and dissipate its considerable charms over time. There is, after all, a fine line between repetition for comic effect and the tedium of beating a punchline until it is good and dead.