With the one week of spring sunshine gone like cherry blossoms in a storm, I was in the mood for some cheering up, and what should appear but Nick’s review of The Play That Goes Wrong and I thought, now, that’s the show for me – one hour long, like all of the best bits of Noises Off (or so Nick claimed), and cheap to boot. Its popularity was spoken for by the endless series of “sold out” flags for the 7:45 showings (there are two a night), but on a whim I went by the box office hat in hand – or, rather, twenty pound note in hand, which I exchanged for a single seat for the earlier show. Hurray! Let there be laughter.
And … well … is there really any need for plot? And yet there was one, a horrible murder mystery, feeling very familiar after The Mousetrap and Deathtrap: a bunch of rich people (one of them dead) are trapped in a manor while a detective tries to work out whoddunit. Did we really care? No, we were too busy listening to the light board operator complain about his missing Duran Duran cd, watching the techie girl stick her arm through the curtains to provide missing props, and awaiting the painful results of people barrelling around the set oblivious to the body parts of the “dead” character. And let’s not omit the horrible anticipation built by a bottle labelled “Toxic” being sat on the tray with the whiskey glasses: not since Drowsy Chaperone had I seen so much liquid sprayed across a stage.
On one hand you’re waiting to see how the actors can overcome the obstacles in front of them; on the other hand, you’re looking forward to seeing them fail. In fact, as the evening snowballs way past the point of believability, any time an actor actually manages to get a bit to end on approximately the right note seems like a triumph, with cheers and applause from the audience. But most of all, we were laughing our heads off – me not so much as some, but still loudly enough to get stares from some uptight woman in the front row. Whatever: you’re the one who went home covered in, um, “whiskey,” and I can’t help but feel you had it coming.
(This review is for a GIRLS ON FILM performance that took place at 7:45 PM on Monday, May 13th, 2013. It continues through TWO MINUTES LATER June 1st. Note that the 21:15 performances are £5 cheaper and GOT YOUR PICTURE may be available on the day at the TKTS booth for £10.)