2 May Not, but 462 Wrongs Do Make A Right

When the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society puts on a play you can be sure of one thing; Two wrongs may not make a right, but 462 wrongs certainly do. Following their previous (financially limited) production of James and the Peach and the recent summer musical CAT, this company opened their production of The Murder at Havisham Manor and not everything went as planned on last night’s opening night.

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But it wasn’t meant to.

Following incredible success in the West End, Mischief Theatre opened their Australian tour of The Play That Goes Wrong last night at Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre. This show takes the audience on a journey through a fateful performance of The Murder at Havisham Manor. Props go missing, actors mix up lines, the set malfunctions and wrong entrances abound in this delightful slapstick farce, all amongst the difficult personal relationships amongst the cast which had the entire audience roaring with laughter.

The talented cast of performers who have been tasked with bringing this fateful production to life have, no doubt, had to fight ever natural instinct and urge to cause so much havoc on stage.

Amongst all this havoc, each of the cast stand out for their own idiosyncrasies. James Marlowe’s Max takes breaking the fourth wall to a new level constantly bowing, applauding alongside or re-performing certain stage moves which receive laughter. But the highlight of his performance is definitely the avoidance of kissing his mistress – although the audience may be able to sway this tendency later on in the performance.

Brooke Satchwell also gives a stand out, albeit much too short, performance as the over acting Sandra. Despite holding a lead role in the production, her time in the limelight is cut off very quickly in the first act leaving her literally out cold before a moment of vengeance in the second act – and a magic trick of transportation which I still cannot work out how they pulled it off. If only this seasoned Australian performer get to spend more time on stage before her very short performance hit a wall (or a door).

After the limelight has been removed from Sandra, it gets very quickly thrust upon Stage Assistant Annie in an amazing performance by Tammy Weller. Between her concerning use of duct tape and Luke Joslin’s overly physical performance as Robert, these two masters of the slapstick genre manage to take moments we have seen embedded in British comedy for years and recapture the audience’s attention and thirst for impeccably-timed slapstick.

In fact, one of the main highlights of the night is Luke Joslin’s performance which (literally) takes place on a plane above all the actors. And quite a steep plane at that as the set begins to literally fall away underneath him.

Each performer gets their moment to shine throughout the night exploring individual character traits which are rife in the theatre world and can quite easily derail a show – but they must all get credit for their to-the-second comic timing which turns potential disaster into comedic hilarity.

This production brings the best of British slapstick throughout the ages together into one night of hilarious disaster that must be seen to be believed. A strictly limited season is now underway at the Comedy Theatre through March 26th, and if the opening night response was anything to go by, make sure you bring someone to assist you off the floor at the end of the night because you certainly will have fallen out of your seat with laughter!

 

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