Friday, July 12, 2019


Ironically. .. my first attempt to load in a photo for this review is hanging up.  
Cast of The Play That Goes Wrong / Photo by Michael Sheehan

Well. on with the show, so to speak.
For those of us in the theatre, we have had moments of forgotten lines, missed cues, a prop gone missing,  or an exit or an entrance that happened, should have happened, happened too soon.. happened too late,, didn't happen at all..  well you get the picture.  And, the darned picture is still loading!  
(I tried again and there we are.)
 "The Play That Goes Worng"  a masterwork of theatrics, comes to life deliberately over the top while tasking the audience to actually read their programs, should they want to know who's who in the cast.   See above.

Of course it's silly to attempt to out silly amazingly silly stuff.  However, when art inspires us, well... then...   there you go.  
The Cornley players of The Cornley University Drama Society are a somewhat ragtag band of players under the mostly unsteady hand of Chris Bean (Evan Alexander Smith) who also plays Inspector Carter in the play within the play.  

By turning your program pages past the ads for Merrill and Mission Tile, we find the cast list which may then be coordinated with the characters playing the characters who then, on another page may be coordinated with the actual actors playing the actors who limn the characters in this evening's performance of "The Murder at Haversham Manor!" 
Light cue! Sound/Sting!  
I was going to make a reference to Great Expectations with a clever aside, but a Dickens pun seems somewhat of a stretch.  

Sketchilly "written" by Susie H.K. Brideswell, (in fact by Henry's Lewis and Shields and Jonathan Sayer) Society President, Chris Bean, is credited with scenic design and every other credit including voice and dialect coach. Mr. Bean's  amazingly complicated set (actually the incredible design is by Nigel Hook)  becomes another character in the show enhanced by Ric Mountjoy's lighting design and Andrew Johnson's sound.

Pre-show antics engineered by the Stage Manager, Annie Twilloil (Angela Grovey) aided and abetted by production lights and sound guy, Trevor Watson (Brandon J. Ellis) include audience participation with Annie hiding behind Trevor in attempts to secure the crumbling set before the play begins. 

After Director Chris Bean's curtain speech laying the groundwork for the mayhem to come, lights up as the dead body of Charles Haversham (as Jonathan Harris played by Yaegal T. Welch) almost makes it to the chaise lounge and the beautifully acted bad acting ensues.  
From this point on, the uncomfortable silliness escalates with broad physical moments that defy explanation. There are more sight gags than a litter of Golden Retrievers. It's delicious. 

In his attempt to steal the show, Ned Noyes as Max Bennett playing both Cecil Haversham, the cad!  and  Arthur the Gardener in Act II may think that he gets away with it, but we know it's you, Max. 

Timing, physical gags that make the audience gasp and truly terrible acting make this production out perform Noises Off! at every turn. Noises Off! used to be the standard for really silly theatre but! No longer! TPTWG is now at the top of my list and as the promo that suggests that "Monty Python meets Sherlock Holmes" isn't far from worng! For another silly reference, I mention  the very silly Firesign Theatre just to see if this gets a mention in another on line venue.  See this show!!

“The Play That Goes Wrong”
Written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields
Tour Directed by Matt DiCarlo
Original Broadway Direction by Mark Bell

Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre
The Music Center

135 N. Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tuesday through Friday at 8 p.m.  
 Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m.  
Sunday at 1 and 6:30 p.m.  
No performance on Mondays.  
Exceptions: Added 2 p.m. show 
Thursday, August 8. 
No 6:30 p.m. show Sunday, August 11, 2019


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