REVIEW: The Play That Goes Wrong at Theatre Royal, Nottingham
This is not just farce. This is farce within farce within farce. This is absurdity at its most absurd.
The Play That Goes Wrong has managed to break the boundaries of comedy theatre, pushing slapstick to its limits, and somehow come out the other side as a work of complete genius.
The performance’s energetic nature barely left time for the audience to breathe as relentless, gag-a-second brilliance demanded every moment.
It’s the kind of the show that gets you irritated. By no means irritated by the captivating actors or the excellent comedy timing but by the man sitting behind you laughing like a high-on-life hyena.
The inept Cornley Drama Society is staging a murder mystery and everything that can possibly go wrong, does. Actors are knocked out and replaced multiple times, meaning that at one point a grandfather clock is used as an understudy. The set is falling apart until by the end it is in absolute ruins! The water on stage has been replaced with white spirit which the actors have to pretend is a fine whisky. The murdered corpse cannot stay dead (it doesn’t help that people keep treading on him) and to top it all off, the theatre technician misses practically all of his sound and lighting cues.
Although it felt at points as though it was slightly grating on your nerves - particularly during a scene in which the ‘cast’ managed to land themselves in a loop in the script and said the same ten lines over and over - the performance offered all the fun of a pantomime if you were just to watch all the silly slapstick scenes for 90 minutes.
Overall, it must be appreciated how much time and hard work has gone into getting things so perfectly wrong. Chaos and order works in harmony to ensure that the piece is a thrill ride of painfully hilarious antics to keep the audience giggling and grinning for days.
A must-see show for theatre lovers, comedy connoisseurs and everyone in between.
The Play That Goes Wrong is at the Theatre Royal until Saturday, July 8. For tickets call 0115 989 5555 or go to trch.co.uk.