The Play That Goes Wrong - Chichester Festival Theatre

Review. Photo: Shutterstock SUS-150912-143625001 SUS-150912-143625001
Review. Photo: Shutterstock SUS-150912-143625001 SUS-150912-143625001
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Anyone who has ever watched an Am Dram performance will know that the most memorable episodes are normally those that do not go quite according to plan or script.

The Play That Goes Wrong takes that concept and amplifies it a thousand times over with all the breathless pace of a Brian Rix farce.

The concept here is that the real play is Murder at Haversham Manor presented by Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society.

It’s a classic whodunnit - or at least it should be - littered with murders.

But drawing on every mishap ever to have scuppered the aspirations of amateur actors the length and breadth of the country, the real battle for survival is for the cast as they dodge collapsing sets and unscheduled on-stage fights and mishaps.

There is always a danger that a play based on this premise will seem contrived. After all, it’s one matter to laugh at a genuine theatrical misfortune, quite another to know that it has been deliberately crafted for effect.

Although slapstick abounds it is choreographed with engine precision and the play elevates itself with some superb linguistic devices of which The Two Ronnies would have been proud.

A scene which is caught in an inescapable loop and another where the lines are spoken out of sync are mini masterpieces.

The Play That Goes Wrong is irresistible fun and the pity is that its whistle-stop visit to Chichester was so brief.

The production tours to Theatre Royal Brighton from Monday 27 August - Saturday 1 September, and Kings Theatre Portsmouth 24 - 29 September, 2018.