I am somebody who loves the theatre.
It is a love which has led me to pay $10 for a soda on Broadway, see bare breasts on the West End (tastefully, of course), cry at Evita, cry even harder at what happens to Mufasa in the stampede (I can’t bring myself to type it out any more explicitly than that), want to kill a cheating lover just so I can pretend to be Velma Kelly and sing Cell Block Tango with gusto, put baby in the corner, and find a way to love Aladdin when Abu isn’t a monkey.
After all those amazing shows – where there has been an abundance of talent, sequins and jazz hands – there is one show which will always be a resounding favourite. Honestly, none of the others – while each exceptional in their own right – even come close. And the real shame here is that there might be people reading this who have yet to even hear of it. No, it’s not the Dormston School production of Grease (although Mark Bradley, your falsetto rendition of Sandy was truly unforgettable) it’s a little something called, The Play That Goes Wrong.
Now admittedly I rave about a lot of things (I’ve already told you, I’m not here to spread hate) but I would wax lyrical about this play to an unhealthily obsessive level – even for me. If it was a movie I’d watch the extended cut with additional Directors commentary, if it was a book I’d read it until the cover fell off, if it was a pizza I’d eat it until I threw up…you get the idea. Basically I can’t get enough. Because it is THAT good. And it’s not just me who praises it so readily; it’s SO good that it’s been snapped up to hit the dazzling lights of Broadway next year. (News which has made me Google flights to Manhattan in preparation.)
And like so many other wonderful things – such as the discovery of penicillin – this resounding favourite came into my life quite by accident. (Yes, I did just compare watching this play to the discovery of anti-biotics. I did it on purpose to convey its significance to me.) You see, I never intended to love a slapstick play more than I loved Les Mis, but I did. Truth be told I never would have thought I’d be the person to even watch a slapstick play – and if it wasn’t for a serendipitous encounter with a theatrely-minded friend I probably wouldn’t have done – but fate intervened and led me down the path of speaking to someone who had previously been to see the play. His rave review, along with the other rave reviews from the folks who’d already seen it on the West End – and the fact that I was at a lose end on an otherwise uneventful Wednesday evening – inspired me to get last minute tickets. I didn’t exactly know what to expect, so I went with an open mind.
I’m not ashamed to say that I left with intense stitch, and dribble down my face – both of which were side effects of laughing far too hard.
It made me research Mischief Theatre Company quite insanely – checking back frequently to keep up to date with their latest projects – which in turn led me to discover their other great creation. Peter Pan Goes Wrong. (This quickly became the other best play I’ve ever seen.)
Just like it’s original counterpart it left me both in a fit of crippling hysterics, and bowled over by the display of such overwhelming talent. Because it’s not just funny, it’s really really flipping clever. The stars of this production are amazingly gifted actors, but they’re also amazingly talented writers. Every single name attributed to this masterpiece deserves the most wonderful appreciation because they have made something incredible – and they’ve made a LOT of people laugh quite uncontrollably in the process.
Now do you want to hear the best news?
This absolute gem, which I will widely acclaim to be the most marvellous spectacle to ever grace the stage, is being broadcast on TV! Tomorrow evening, in fact. On BBC One, at 6:20pm.
If there’s one sure fire way to forget the triumphant misery that was 2016 it’s this play – so make sure you watch it. And get everyone in the family to watch it with you. And Sky Plus it so you can watch it again frequently. And then go buy tickets to see the real show. Because it’s honestly THAT amazing. Because it’s honestly the BEST thing you’ll see all year. And because it’s really, really, REALLY funny.