Review: “A hilarious display of stage wizardry and slapstick showmanship”★★★★ The Play That Goes Wrong, Exeter Northcott

Anyone who has been involved in live theatre knows the thrill. The excitement that at any given point something could wrong and that each time you set foot on the stage it’s as if you are stepping over the precipice. Mischief Theatre has made an art form of the impeding misadventure, which befalls those who embark on making theatre.

Their first foray into the world of disaster performance The Play That Goes Wrong has gained a plethora of plaudits and recently received a Broadway Transfer. The production, which is still packing them in at the Duchess Theatre in London’s West End is also enjoying a hugely popular nationwide tour and is delivering buckets full of hilarity to the Exeter Northcott Theatre this week.

We are called to witness Cornley Polytechnic Drama Club’s attempt to stage a 1920s murder mystery entitled Murder at Haversham Hall. As you can gauge from the title of the production, everything does not go to plan and with a catalogue of mishaps and misdemeanors the show erupts into a hilarious display of stage wizardry and slapstick showmanship.

The panic felt by a company when a production doesn’t go to plan is perfectly illustrated with pregnant pauses and terrified faces from the excellent ensemble cast, who expertly deliver an intricate team performance. Alastair Kirton as Cecil, and Katie Bernstein as a very willing stagehand really stand out, but the interplay between all of the cast members is first-rate.

Nigel Hook’s astonishingly adept set design provides the platform for some heart stopping spoofs and the ingenious detail on each prop makes even the smallest mishap become a hilarious scene-stealer.

The continuous fast paced and silly physical comedy may not tickle everyone’s funny bone, but for those who like their slapstick in large helpings, this is a must see.

The Play That Goes Wrong at Exeter Northcott Theatre until 20 May 

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