The Play That Goes Wrong – Orpheum Theater – Minneapolis MN – May 7th 2019

Photo: Jeremy Daniel

The Hennepin Theater Tryst Company presents The Play That Goes Wrong

Take Monty Python, the movie “Clue”, “The Young Ones”, and any physical comedy you can think of, throw them in a blender, and you have “The Play that Goes Wrong”.  This play was by far the funniest thing I have ever seen onstage.  Looking into it, I found that it has been playing at the Duchess Theater in the West End since 2014 and is running through 2020.  JJ Abrams actually made his theatrical production debut with the Broadway version.  This play has been around for quite some time and I hadn’t heard of it until Tuesday.

We went to “The Play That Goes Wrong” knowing basically nothing about it.  We knew it was a comedy and figured it was a play within a play based on the title.  Being huge fans of British comedy, this was right up our alley.  However, we had no idea it was British comedy.  When we first sat down, the woman next to me told me that she wouldn’t talk through the play, as she was talking a lot before it started.  I told her not to worry, as I didn’t believe she would.  When it began, I realized that even if she and people around us were talking, it wouldn’t matter because the play was hilarious and rather interactive with the audience.
It’s hard to really describe a synopsis of the play, as it would be tremendously short.  The play really has to be experienced to truly understand it.  From the introduction to the conclusion, the humor does not let up.  The audience is exposed to missed cues, mispronunciations, the set itself falling apart and being set on fire, and just about anything else that could possibly go wrong if you were trying to put on a play. They break the fourth wall numerous times, including a fantastic segment in which a character begins berating the audience out of sheer frustration.
This is probably a prime example of how subjective comedy is as a genre.  The people in our row were all laughing throughout the show.  And when I say that, I really mean, throughout.  It didn’t stop and it was hard laughing.  The laughing in it of itself added to the overall experience.  And yet, six people in front of us left after the first act because they didn’t find it funny at all.  Although I love British comedy, I get how some wouldn’t find it funny.  It’s just a very different type of humor.  However, I heard a number of people that left talk poorly of the audience that stayed.
Like I said before, comedy is subjective.  Entertainment in general is subjective. Just because you may not like it doesn’t mean that the people who do like it are stupid.  There were people saying after the play that those who stayed just weren’t “theater people” and weren’t into “a profound theater experience”.  Here’s the deal – if you are so much more of a theater person than those who stayed at that show, you shouldn’t be insulting the show.  As mentioned earlier, this play is highly successful.  The cast is amazing.  They’re not simply spouting off lines.  They’re performing bouts of physical acting that could potentially injure someone if they weren’t good at their job.  Also, it’s not easy to act like you’re bad at acting when you actually are good at it.  I love the theater in all forms and I loved this play as well.
This is one of the few plays I have ever said I would see multiple times in a single run.  I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys British comedy, physical comedy, or just a fun time at the theater.
Click HERE for info and tickets.
Review Tracy Hansen