Review- The Play That Goes Wrong- Lunchbox Productions


by Nicole Garbellini






This month, Hong Kong is in for a laugh, and The Play That Goes Wrong doesn't have a single still moment in it, nor a moment to relax- the unstoppable flow of comedy is enough to keep the audience on their toes for the whole length of the play.



Stage action began as the audience took their seats; the "backstage crew" (played by Graeme Rooney and Katie Bernstein) hurried through the last minute fixes before starting the performance, revealing the fragility and wobbliness of the set. Audience members were called on stage to hold pieces of the walls up until the entrance of director/actor/producer/prop master/costume designer and much more Chris Bean (played by Patrick Warner). Presenting "The Murder At Haversham Manor" to the audience, Mr. Bean had every hope that "this time" things would work out well, unlike the previous attempts.



Tempting Murphy's Law, the story is every stage practitioner's nightmare; there are so many things that go wrong that one wouldn't even think it is possible. But of course, the worse it goes, the funnier. The farce is the staging of a murder mystery, as the title suggests, where actors dip in and out of character following a variety of increasingly silly mistakes. One great touch is the ethnic differences between the two 'brothers.



As the story unravelled and the search for the murderer got more and more intense, the actors' energy rushed to the roof as the set began to fall to pieces.The unstoppable energy of the cast, a great ensemble of actors, was solid and never dropped. I particularly enjoyed the performances of the lighting and sound operator (Rooney) and Thomas Colleymore (Edward Judge), especially when balancing on a falling platform.



The stage mechanics were expertly manoeuvred by director Mark Bell, with the design of Nigel Hook and the workmanship of Jim Paterson. It was the first time for me to see such a demanding and complicated set, but the spectacular result contributed to making a highly entertaining piece of comedy that kept the audience attached to their seats.



There were times though where the jokes were a bit too silly to be funny, although the audience seemed to appreciate them. For example, it was unnecessary to have the actors holding falling pieces of the set for that long when they could have put them down and gone on with their actions, but I liked the effect when other items expected to fall actually remained attached to the walls.



The Play That Goes Wrong is a highly entertaining play and a fun night out at the theatre. My last thought is that it is great to have such productions touring from abroad. Sadly independent English-language theatre companies in Hong Kong would never be able to offer such a kind of performance locally due to the lack of resources available. 


This production has now closed. 




Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: 3.5


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