This week I had the pleasure of seeing The Play That Goes Wrong on Broadway. If you’re in or visiting NYC run and see it! The Play That Goes Wrong was written by three members of The Mischief Theatre Company based in London: Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields. The show was originally on The West End in London where it received great acclaim and won the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. The original cast from The West End production was transferred to New York City for a run on The Great White Way and seems to be just as well received across the pond and also served as film director JJ Abrams’ first theatrical producing endeavor.
One of the first things I noted about the play is how hard working their cast was all while making the action on stage appear accidental and improvised. Notably, the cast is almost always at work. Before the show, some cast members traipse throughout the theater interacting with audience members and giving you an authentic sense of being in the world of the show. Down to the playbill, they convince you that you are at a small theater at a uni in the UK seeing the worst, best show ever. The actors are even playing throughout intermission as you hear goofy backstage talk creating the illusion that someone forgot to turn their mic off. The entire cast was on stage most of the show with very little time off-stage and the way they flowed in and out was seamless. Two actors who played people a part of the stage crew were not on stage a bunch but they were an integral part of the show’s flow and were a big part of the pre-show.
The set was incredible and you don’t have to take my word for it. Nigel Hook, the set designer won a Tony and a Drama Desk for his work on the show this awards season. The set was simple in a sense that it was one room the entire time but Hook did not skimp on the details. The set decoration was precise and told a story. In addition, as you can imagine with a show called The Play That Goes Wrong, the set was generously rigged to fall apart throughout the show. The timing was so on point, it was as if the set was another character in the show reacting to and around the actor's’ and their unfortunate circumstances.
The script itself was brilliantly crafting with fantastic wordplay and hilarity that both theater lovers and theater newcomers could enjoy alike. The text worked hand in hand with the actors and the brilliant direction of Mark Bell to create perfect comedy and some of the best hours I’ve spent at the theater. I was able to get pretty affordable tickets at TodayTix as low as $30 on a Tuesday night. You can also buy tickets here and learn more about the amazing cast and creative team!