Wednesday, September 20, 2017

REVIEW: The Play That Goes Wrong

HKAPA Lyric Theatre, Wednesday September 19 


I have always wanted to see this play, but have not until last night. Since it opened in 2012 in London, it has always been shortlisted for shows I would like to see during my visit to London. For some reason, it just never made it to my final list for six years! I am not so sure why. Perhaps, there were too many musicals during that season, or it is just not my theatre friend’s cup of tea. But not really, because I just found out that my theatre friend actually went and saw it, while I was watching a musical! In any case, I am just glad that the play came to me and I saw it! And boy, I am terribly glad that I went to see it! 


This play by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields brought two big names into my mind, Michael Frayn and Buster Keaton. Michael Frayn’s NOISES OFF took farce to a level where ludicrous is played out with high speed accuracy amid a cacophony of banging doors, falling props and relentless stage mishaps. While I thought that Noises Off is the beast of farce, in came The Play That Goes Wrong. There is no pretense with The Play, no pretending that it is a play that happens to have things went wrong. As the title announced, things will go wrong, but what it really implied is, “You think you have seen the worst? Wait till you see us!” And they delivered! 

The Play also feels like homage to Buster Keaton’s art of gag. Arguably the greatest actor–director in the history of the movies, Keaton told stories through action and not by words. The Play’s physical comedy on steroid was almost movie in scale. I also love what Keaton used to call “impossible gag”, wherein one of the actor in The Play exited from the stage but magically came out of the grandfather clock! 


As an ensemble of this most exacting, physically punishing and very silly comedy, the actors were absolutely awesome. As the cast and crew of the “Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society” attempting to stage a 1920s murder mystery, the actors did everything they can to make everything goes wrong goes right.
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Cast
GRAEME ROONEY - Trevor
PATRICK WARNER - Chris
JASON CALLENDER - Jonathan
EDWARD JUDGE - Robert
EDWARD HOWELLS - Dennis
MEG MORTELL - Sandra
ALASTAIR KIRTON - Max
KATIE BERNSTEIN - Annie

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