The Play That Goes Wrong

Salisbury Playhouse

YOU have to be very good to pull off a show as “bad” as The Play That Goes Wrong and the cast of this Olivier Award-winning production are masters of their craft.

This hilarious play within a play, on tour after a highly successful run in the West End, treated us to Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’s production of The Murder at Haversham Manor – apparently an am dram version of The Mousetrap.

The hapless and hopeless cast includes a long-suffering director who’s given himself a leading role, two divas fighting for the limelight, a stagestruck novice treading the boards for the first time and a random bunch of enthusiastic actors who can’t get the words or timing quite right.

Throw in a disinterested lighting and sound guy, misplaced props and a set that just won’t perform as it’s supposed to and the results are a treat.

The Play That Goes Wrong blends slapstick comedy with a slick script and the great British theatre tradition that the show must go on. Unconscious starlets, unreliable scenery and unusable props will not deter this doggedly determined cast from telling their tale.

The comedy and calamity builds as the murder mystery reaches its conclusion but the real excitement comes from seeing what disaster will befall the Cornley Polytechnic cast and crew next.

Funny from start to finish The Play That Goes Wrong is a highly enjoyable night at the theatre although it’s unlikely to make you book tickets for Cornley Polytechnic’s minimalist productions “Jack and the Bean” or “Cat” any time soon.

Jill Cowling

n The Play That Goes Wrong also visits the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton from Monday 10 to Saturday 15 July. Please contact the Ticket Office on 02380 711811 or visit