They say that laughter is the best medicine. If this is the case, then The Play That Goes Wrong should be recommended to the NHS immediately.
Because Mischief Theatre Company’s entertaining production is an absolute hoot from start to finish.
The gags come thick and fast in this laugh-a-minute show, which has a broad range of comedy, from slapstick to one-liners.
Yes, most of it is silly, over-the-top, farcical stuff, but there’s also some very clever moments here too.
And it’s all delivered with expert timing.
The show itself is a play-within-a-play, following the trials and tribulations of the hapless Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society as it tries to stage the Murder at Haversham Manor.
Hopes are high! The society finally has the right number of cast members to put on the show, unlike previous productions, where they’ve had to cut corners and settle for The Lion and The Wardrobe, or Cat.
They’ve also splashed out on props this time round – a complete contrast to when the group couldn’t afford an all-important giant peach, so had to perform the Roald Dahl classic, James and the Peach. Or when it went mouldy, James, Where’s Your Peach?
But you don’t have to be a detective to work out that the Murder at Haversham Manor will also be a disaster.
Unfortunately for the Cornley players, everything that can go wrong, goes wrong – a collapsing set, the female lead being knocked out (more than once!), and props not being where they should be.
But their bad luck is to the audience’s advantage – with the comedy unrelenting as their attempts to stage a dramatic murder mystery descend into chaos.
And at the heart of it all is the talented and energetic cast, who are the icing on the cake.
Over the years, the production has become a phenomenon, from premiering at the Old Red Lion Theatre, in London, in 2012, to moving to the West End and enjoying several UK tours, as well as being performed on Broadway and in Australia.
It even won Best New Comedy at the 2015 Laurence Olivier Awards.
And on this evidence, it is easy to see why the show has attracted such praise and acclaim.
It’s fair to say that The Play That Goes Wrong actually does everything quite right.
CAST: Chris Bean, Jonathan Harris, Robert Grove, Sandra Wilkinson, Max Bennett, Dennis Tyde. Annie Twilloil, Trevor Watson.
The show opened at Newcastle Theatre Royal on Monday and is being performed until Saturday. For details, including tickets, visit the Theatre Royal’s website.