Reviewed by Nicky Jones
Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Tony-award winning The Play That Goes Wrong is always undoubtably going to provide a night of hysterical laughter and shock moments – and the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society are currently back at The Lowry with their production Murder at Haversham Manor!
It’s no secret that things are going to go wrong, and as you take to your seat the disasters have already begun. A Duran Duran CD and Winston the dog are lost within the auditorium and a frantic search for them has begun. The fourth wall is broken and audience participation is encouraged from the moment you take your seat, and that’s when you know this is not going to be any ordinary murder mystery…
Laughter takes over the auditorium before the lights have even gone down. The technicians are working away on-stage, repairing bits of the set which already aren’t staying where they’re supposed to. Once the lights go down, we are welcomed by the Director Chris Bean (Tom Bulpett) and once we hear the alternative names of some of their past productions (James, Where’s Your Peach?, Cat, The Lion and the Wardrobe), we know that things may not go quite as planned.
Throughout the play we are introduced to the society members, and it’s incredible how much hilarity they bring to the stage. These include first time performer Max Bennett, who plays Cecil Haversham (Tom Babbage), Sandra Wilkinson as the newly widowed Florence Colleymoore (April Hughes), and Dennis Tyde as Perkins (Edward Howells). In addition, they are supported by the technical crew of Trevor (Gabriel Paul) and Annie (Laura Kirman) – whose backstage roles may have to be left behind more than once during the performance.
It’s one of those productions that you could see over and over again, and each time you see it you’ll spot more hilarious moments, catch more witty lines and laugh even harder. At the beginning of act two, you think to yourself “the set is already barren and hanging by its hinges, how much more wrong can it go?!”. As the set crumbles around the actors, the comedy gets more and more chaotic. Props are bursting into flames, the study has collapsed onto the ground below, actors are getting knocked out – and you cannot quite believe that this is all happening in front of your eyes.
The comedic timing of the actors is impeccable, and the fun they are having on stage really shines through into the audience. It’s an absolute delight of a show, and will bring a smile to faces of all ages.
Mischief Theatre’s A Play That Goes Wrong is at The Lowry until Sunday 22nd August – https://thelowry.com/whats-on/the-play-that-goes-wrong/