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The Play That Goes Wrong at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

A Small Mind trod the boards of the Royal last week making his acting debut in front of over five hundred paying customers. Fortunately for them they were not paying to see me, but actually Mischief Theatre's sublime The Play That Goes Wrong.

A Small Mind found himself on stage at the behest of the lovely Nancy Wallinger (Annie), who was having trouble with the set. I used my stunning acting skills, honed over, oh, five seconds, as I was led on the stage, and I goofed it up as much as I could and even improvised with a door. I was most excellent. In my mind.

However, less about my forthcoming Olivier and more about this somewhat excellent comic play. I quite often find it difficult to write reviews without giving the plot away, however with this show, its giving the jokes away that's the problem. The play itself gives the plot away after all, with a clever running joke and the understudy antics.

Anyway suffice to say, The Play That Goes Wrong more than lives up to its name with the most glorious collection of set problems, acting problems and script problems. This is a play of the most stunning timing, be it verbal or very physical jokes. Almost everything you could imagine happens over the plays duration and quite a bit more.

The cast are nothing short of stunning, the lot of them, as they ham it up in the extreme. Overacting, and hysterical at almost every moment.

Henry Shields channels John Cleese in his most extreme, peaking in his "A Ledger!" scene. Greg Tannahill plays the best dead body you are ever likely to see on stage, while Henry Lewis is a plummy voiced perfection and with a most physical prowess, especially with his balcony shenanigans. Jonathan Sayer as Perkins is quite splendiferous (try that one! *checks hand*).

Dave Hearn mugs it up brilliantly and his reaction to the audience is constantly very funny. Finally Charlie Russell as Sandra it delightful and gorgeous (don't she know it *strike a pose*) as Sandra.

A special mention to the "crew", including the aforementioned Nancy Wallinger, as well as Rob Falconer, the play most certainly, most definitely, wouldn't be the same without you. Also Alys Metcalf, I do not have that CD, I had no idea how I knew it was even missing in the first place.

Anyway, without doubt this is the funniest play that I have seen so far and it was so good I had to relive it again the next day. I was told that some had said that it was a Marmite play, but I find it difficult to comprehend how anyone could dislike it.

I have also never seen an audience react quite as one as they do to this play. The shear amount of applause's during the play was amazing and I have never seen a man physically react to laughter so much as I did when the person next to me almost punched the lady in front of him.

I can safely say that I have had the honour to appear on stage during one of the funniest plays ever and you simply must go and see it.

The Play That Goes Wrong may well have left Northampton, however you have ample opportunity to catch it as it continues to tour the UK before returning to the West End.
http://www.mischieftheatre.co.uk/

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