The Play That Goes Wrong Review: ‘The audience were in stitches’

The Play That Goes Wrong is on at the Kings Theatre, Southsea, from September 24-29.
The Play That Goes Wrong is on at the Kings Theatre, Southsea, from September 24-29.

We arrived cautious but left aching with laughter. 

The Play That Goes Wrong certainly lived up to its name on its opening night at the Kings Theatre, Southsea, yesterday. 

As the audience were taking their seats, the theatrical performance had already begun. Stagehands ran around the auditorium, engaging with the audience while looking for missing items and characters – the audience were in stitches. 

So as the curtains drew back and the hysterics settled, we were welcomed by the director of The Corney Polytechnic Drama Society (Jake Curran) to the stage production of The Murder at Haversham Manor. He delved into the background of the society, recounting previous theatrical mishaps in a witty dialogue, setting us up for two-hour’s of hilarious mayhem.

As the script unfolded, the cast learnt of the death of Max on the night of his engagement party to Florence. While the fake snow flurries began to fall, the distressed characters demand more scotch to which they’re greeted with a bottle of white spirit – hilarity follows. 

But while the 1920s murder mystery developed, the set around them began to collapse. With pictures propelling across the set, the mantelpiece falling, the study giving way and the main door jamming shut, the characters descend into comical chaos. 

Throughout the entire two hours, there was not one moment of silence as the audience filled every minute with giggles, snorts and belly-laughs. 

‘And I wish this could have ended so differently,’ bellows Max Haversham in the final scene. But the audience are so glad it ended the way it did.

With the set in pieces around them, the characters at wits’ end with one another and the stagehands propping up pictures, the final curtain draws as the audience got to their feet, clapped and cheered.