Wednesday, 27 June 2018

The Play That Goes Wrong - The Opera House, Manchester.

This could be said to be a play within a play within a play. Incredibly cleverly crafted with skilled timing and implacable acting, this is one of the cleverest and most entertaining of this genre of play I think I have ever seen.

The first 'play' is the stage management team of the second 'play' interacting with the audience. They have lost both a dog and a Duran Duran CD. The capers and capabilities of the set are given a nice little preview of the greater disasters to come; and excellent use of an audience member was a lovely touch.

This over, and the 'director' of the second 'play' came forward to say a few words to the audience who have come to watch their amateur dramatic society's presentation of 'Murder At Haversham Manor'.

The set is for this 'play', and is a Regency decorated splendorous manor house with a plot and cast of characters very much in the style of Agatha Christie.. We see a two-level interior complete with elevator.

Of course the third and final 'play' is the acting of 'Murder At Haversham Manor' by the society but with the old adage that anything that can go wrong, will. - and instead of the intended play we see the play of the title, a play that goes terribly wrong. The cast are constantly having to improvise and adapt to continue with their play as if nothing was going wrong, carrying on regardless of everything literally falling apart around them.

And so, as the cast endure knocks, falls, missed lines, insufficient lighting, not to mention falling scenery and last minute cast replacements, this murder mystery very quickly turns into a farce of farcical proportion.

All the cast are superb, from the adroit Chris Bean (Jake Curran) to the inept and ineffectual stage manager Annie (Catherine Dryden) who, once she gets a taste for the limelight does everything in her power to make sure she stays there!

Directed by Mark Bell, this is definitely one of the slickest and silliest farces I have seen in a very long time. Superbly acted, times, and choreographed. A laugh-a-second sure-fire hit!

Reviewer - Matthew Dougall
on - 25/6/18

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