If you liked NOISES OFF, you’ll love the Mischief Theatre’s production THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG, imported from the West End, about an amateur, community theatre production of a hackneyed, Agatha Christie-wannabe, murder whodunit. Not only does it out-farce NOISES OFF, it also brings physical comedy to a seemingly dangerous level, such that shortly into Act 2, I was fearing for the safety of the cast of eight. The slapstick accidents are so outrageous, it’s easy to forget all about the (intentionally) corny story.
I saw the original production of this in London, now in its third year there, a few months ago, with its fourth or fifth cast, several being understudies. The original players have came across for the Broadway run. Particularly memorable is Henry Lewis, Mischief’s artistic director. His basso profondo makes droll as droll can get, and his Orson Welles-like frame perilously tests the limits of how much weight the set can hold -literally. Director Mark Bell has wisely slowed down the dialogue (but definately not the action) a tad for us Americans, and the broad comedy is played even more broadly than in London. The cast mugs a lot. The premise is rather one-note. No matter. Just go along for the hilarious ride.
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