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Mischief Theatre Presents "The Play That Goes Wrong" at the Lyceum Theatre
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Mischief Theatre Presents "The Play That Goes Wrong" at the Lyceum Theatre

- Backstage with the Playwrights


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Kevin McCollum, JJ Abrams, Kenny Wax,
Stage Presence Ltd., Catherine Schreiber
et al.
Present:

A Mischief Theatre Production of:

The Play That Goes Wrong
(The Play That Goes Wrong Website)

By Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields
Directed by Mark Bell

At the
Lyceum Theatre
A Schubert Organization
149 West 45th Street
212.239.6200

Starring:
Rob Falconer, Dave Hearn, Henry Lewis
Charlie Russell, Jonathan Sayer, Henry Shields
Greg Tannahill, Nancy Zamit, Matthew Cavendish
Bryony Corrigan, Jonathan Fielding, Amelia McClain

Scenic Design: Nigel Hook
Costume Design: Roberto Surace
Lighting Design: Rick Mountjoy
Sound Design: Andrew Johnson
Original Music: Rob Falconer
Production Stage Manager: Matt DiCarlo
Press Representative: Boneau/Bryan-Brown
Advertising & Marketing: SPOTCO
General Management: Bespoke Theatricals
Production Management: David Benken
UK Production Management: Digby Robinson


Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
May 4, 2017


This play within a play called The Play That Goes Wrong, produced by Mischief Theatre in London, where the play was first staged, is truly a play that goes wrong. If I laughed once during the two-act show it’s stretching reality. I’ve never been a fan of British slapstick farce, but, after all, this is Broadway. There are standards here for a Broadway comedy. It seemed the only laughter arose from audience members who held a plastic glass of wine or beer. I held none, not thinking it would be required to chemically enhance my mind to enjoy a standard show. I was wrong. Eight actors, three of whom also wrote the play, Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields, and one of whom wrote original music, take on the roles of faux sound director, who lost his Duran Duran CD (Rob Falconer), as well as lead actors in the British faux play.

Before the show begins, one actor/playwright faux harasses audience members, and one actor/faux stagehand, Nancy Zamit, tries to hold up falling props and scenery, prior to the stage lights. Is she also looking for a missing dog? I felt like Alice in Wonderland. There’s always a vague sense that figuratively and literally there’s something missing, something broken, something caving in, someone dying (the corpse that moves), someone killing (guns rampant), and too much time left to sit in the audience. Really.

“The Murder at Haversham Manor” is the name of the troupe’s faux play, and one would think that the plot within a plot would be abundantly clear after two acts, but it was not. Let’s just say a wealthy gentleman is murdered, various characters are accused, hiding, falsifying, cheating, and so on. Charlie Russell (a woman) as Sandra, is knocked out by a door, and her faux character is assumed by a man, who then wants to stay on in the role, when she resumes consciousness. There’s a sort of side attic, from which characters hang by an arm, jump with athleticism (the most impressive aspect of this show, physical daring), balance precariously, and disappear through another door.

Falling mantles and plants and paintings, gin in paint thinner containers, missed stage cues, bad entrances and exits, props that don’t work as expected, and a busy coffin all become more annoying and exhausting as the hours expand drearily. When women fall through an open window, nobody cares, and rightly so. I should probably commend Nigel Hook for the detailed set that’s always unhinged and Andrew Johnson for the sound design that keeps every stage gasp and choke crisply audible. Director, Mark Bell, did manage to assign cast to hold props steady while answering phones and attending to the corpse. As the audience seemed replete with British farce buffs, a grand time was had by some. But for others, myself included, we checked our watches abundantly. Time crawled.





For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net