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The Play That Goes Wrong transfers to W/E

The Play That Goes Wrong

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FOLLOWING a sold-out UK tour, The Play That Goes Wrong is transferring to the West End – to the Duchess Theatre, where it opens on September 14, 2014, with previews from September 5.

The Play That Goes Wrong burst onto the stage with phenomenal success last year, having originally opened as a one-act show at the Old Red Lion in London, before transferring to the Trafalgar Studios (Studio 2).

Winner of the award for Best New Comedy 2014, the acclaimed play is currently enjoying a 21 week tour which ends this July.

Co-written by Mischief Theatre company members Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, and directed by Mark Bell, The Play That Goes Wrong is a highly physical comedy packed with finely-tuned farce and Buster Keaton inspired slapstick delivered with split-second timing.

The play introduces The ‘Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’ who are attempting to put on a 1920s’ murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong, does, as the accident prone thespians battle on against all the odds to get to their final curtain call.

Mischief Theatre was founded in 2008 by a group of graduates of The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) and began as an improvised comedy group. Recent winners of the Edinburgh Festival’s ‘Spirit of The Fringe’ Award, Mischief Theatre performs across the UK and internationally with improvised and original scripted work. The company is led by Artistic Director Henry Lewis and Company Director Jonathan Sayer.

Producer Kenny Wax said: “A few months ago a colleague of mine asked me to accompany him for a ‘second opinion’ to see The Play That Goes Wrong at the Trafalgar Studios. I was so excited by this courageous young group of actors that we offered them a deal on the spot.

“I should add that I have never been quite so impulsive before and had no idea if the regional theatres would even book the show. But I had a real desire to help this bunch of daredevil and totally committed young actors to bring their show to a wider audience and the business on the road surpassed anything that we could have imagined. Transferring the show into The Duchess is the next thrilling step on their incredible journey.”

Henry Lewis, Mischief Theatre Artistic Director said: “Our show has had an amazing journey thus far – starting in a room above a pub in north London, with a dog in the next room barking loudly throughout – helped along its way considerably, to our delight, by word of mouth. To bring our sense of humour to different communities all over the country has been a real pleasure and now we are incredibly excited to be coming to the West End.

“We are a grassroots theatre company in every sense and have climbed up slowly from the very bottom of the comedy theatre world – gigs behind soundproof glass in a John Lewis shop window, on the top deck of a bus and in an underground storeroom in Poland stick out as steep learning curves! The West End is an opportunity for which I am indebted to our producers who were brave enough to take us on, unknown as we are, and to the talented members of Mischief Theatre who have willingly helped simultaneously to build and climb a ladder that might have led nowhere, but wondrously led here.”

The Play That Goes Wrong is directed by Mark Bell, whose credits include Endgame (BAC), On the Road to Baghdad (Sadler’s Wells), Amok, The Breeze and Backwash (Hoipolloi) and Get Out of Here (Commotion). He has taught and directed at LAMDA, CSSD and East 15 acting schools in the UK and at Cours Florent Paris, ITCA in Italy and Carnegie Mellon University, USA.

Produced in the West End by Kenny Wax Ltd and Stage Presence Ltd, The Play That Goes Wrong is designed by Nigel Hook and has lighting by Ric Mountjoy. It is performed by Mischief Theatre members: Charlie Russell, Dave Hearn, Greg Tannahill, Henry Lewis, Henry Shields, Jonathan Sayer, Nancy Wallinger and Rob Falconer.

Tickets: All seats £20 for 20 selected performances; until October 19: £39.50, £29.50, £20; from October 20: £49.50, £39.50 (mid-week matinees only), £35, £20. To book, call 0844 412 4659 or visit

Times: Wednesday to Saturday at 7.30pm; Thursday and Saturday at 2.30pm; Sunday at 3pm and 7pm.

Bakersfield Mist, with Kathleen Turner and Ian McDiarmid, runs at the Duchess Theatre from May 10 to August 30, 2014.