I saw a fantastically funny show on Broadway about three years ago, “The Play That Goes Wrong.” Now, there’s a sorta sequel on Amazon Prime in the US and I want to make sure you know about it.
The hook of “The Play That Goes Wrong” is a play within a play. Amateur actors ruin a performance (and the set) of a creaky mystery called “The Murder at Haversham Manor.” In fact, the bad actors are played by a cast that’s rehearsed each flubbed line and escalating catastrophe with split-second timing. That original cast, The Mischief Theatre Company, has been performing versions of the show together since 2012.
Here’s a condensed chunk of the original show, for a charity benefit in 2015, with bonus cameos by Kylie Minogue and John Groban.
The Mischief Theatre Company now has “The Goes Wrong Show” on Amazon Prime. Originally broadcast on BBC One, it’s six half-hour episodes with that same terrible fictional troupe, the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society. Now, they’re producing a new play each week. A courtroom drama, a Christmas tale, a southern gothic melodrama … Of course, they still don’t get it right and the small mistakes start to snowball.
Anyone who has worked in live performance will certainly laugh and relate, but it’s not required. It’s hard to capture the madness in a short clip, but let’s give it a go.
When Broadway opens up again, I’m hoping Mischief Theatre will bring over a show they’ve only done back home in England. “Magic Goes Wrong” is a collaboration with Penn & Teller, although P&T are not in the show. Here’s a bit that was performed before “Magic Goes Wrong” as part of Prince Charles’ 70th Birthday Celebration. “Magic Goes Wrong” is tentatively scheduled to reopen in London in November. (Sorry there’s a little white space here. That’s the way that video player works.)