Wednesday, 18 July 2018

The Play That Goes Wrong - Bristol Hippodrome Review

The Play That Went Wrong Bristol Hippodrome Review Production Shot
The Play That Went Wrong is presented by Mischief Theatre, and consists of a very small cast and one equally small, but remarkably flexible, stage set. The whole vibe is reminiscent of traditional theatre, as opposed to the more showy West End musicals we've become used to and this is an aspect that I found really appealing, it brought back memories of school trips and local theatre shows I've seen in the past. The local theatre look is very deliberate and gives a clue to the theme of the show, which is a local theatre production that, well, that goes wrong. The clue is also in the title. 

From the very start, this is an exceptionally high-energy, heavily choreographed production, which is both mesmerising and mind-boggling in equal measure. The only way I can describe it is loosely structured mayhem. This is the fun part, though, and is actually really, really clever. Every mishap, every trip, and every near-miss, look so completely natural and yet have been perfectly stage-managed by some very talented individuals. Everything about this production relies on precision and timing and it takes an element of confidence and bravery to even attempt some of the high-jinks and craziness that occur during the show. How some of the actors are still alive is astonishing, quite honestly, they should, at the very least, be covered in some pretty impressive bruises! The acrobatics were almost circus-like in parts and the moments of considerable peril were an added element I was not expecting. I didn't really know what to expect, since I decided to see the show without reading about it first, and it was certainly unlike any other stage show I've seen. 

The cast setting the scene for The Play That Went Wrong

The premise of the show is, as mentioned before, fairly obvious. You, the audience, are watching a small-time production company put on a murder-mystery play, which doesn't go according to plan. What's lovely about it, is that you, as the audience, are part of the show and the actors go the extra mile to ensure that you are completely submersed in your role as the spectators of the ill-fated play. There is audience interaction and even the programme had a number of hilarious anecdotes and stories in keeping with the plot. The cast all did a fantastic job and I really can't begin to tell you how talented they must be, to make all of the complicated manoeuvres and cleverly-timed comedy moments happen so flawlessly, but my favourite was Bobby Hirston, who played Max and was so hilariously expressive, with his exaggerated descriptive arm movements. he could probably have landed a plane, given a couple of flags.

The Play That Went Wrong cast drinking white spirit, thinking it's whisky

If you are a fan of slapstick, you will love this show. It's all the slapstick and so much more. Extra slap and a whole lot more stick. There are a few surprises and it was a lot of fun. It is a particularly style of comedy, though, and you do have to appreciate the Three Stooges/ Laurel and Hardy/ Mr Bean type of humour in order to get the full benefit of this production. For me, it became a little overwhelming towards the end and I wondered if perhaps it was a little on the long side. It becomes very hard to follow everything that is going on towards the end and, although it's not essential to actually discover whodunnit, I felt I was really struggling to keep up in general, it was all a bit of a whirlwind. Overall, though, hilarious and light-hearted fun that would, refreshingly, be suitable for any age.


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