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Theater Review: ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ does something right

by Brittani Tuttle

Maybe you’ve heard of Murphy’s Law. It’s that old adage that proclaims “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.”

the play that goes wrong

By Olivia Marchinke

It’s as if Murphy himself is present at the Cornley University Drama Society’s production of “The Murder at Haversham Manor,” the play-within-a-play of “The Play That Goes Wrong.”

the play that goes wrong

In an extreme devotion to the mantra “the show must go on,” “The Play That Goes Wrong” is a farcical comedy in which a group of actors is determined to put on their murder mystery, dodging obstacles like cast members knocked unconscious, faulty set pieces, and a less-than-attentive sound operator.

The fourth wall is not only broken, but torn completely down with moments of audience interaction. The “director” of the murder mystery even has an outburst at the audience for laughing. For the Orlando performance at the Dr. Phillips Center, he made references to Walt Disney World and the University of Central Florida. Furthering the play-within-a-play aspect, “The Murder at Haversham Manor” even has its own cast bios, credits, and a letter from the director in the playbill.

the play that goes wrong

The effects in the show made me wonder, “how did they do that?” From a door on the set that refuses to open to wall hangings that crash to the ground on cue, to some surprising pyrotechnics, the technical aspects of the show are a wonder in and of itself. The players are masters of the all-important physical comedy that is so definitive of a farce. Expertly portraying wannabe actors, a technical crew, and a disgruntled director, these characters are instantly recognizable for anyone who has seen a show from or participated in amateur theatre.

There are some scenes I would consider just a tad too risqué for younger audiences – I would suggest leaving children age 12 and under at home for this one.

the play that goes wrong

Perfect for an evening of side-splitting fun, “The Play That Goes Wrong” brings the house down – in the most literal sense. You can catch it now through Dec. 8 at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando.

To learn more, and to purchase your tickets, click here.

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1 comment

Reid Loveland December 5, 2019 - 12:52 pm

It was a great production. And they faithfully recreated the show from its Broadway run at the Lyceum Theater. It does seem the “Ledger” scene [as I call it] the actor says different things to the audience each night as we were chastised for our Swans and sports ranking. And I met the cast at the stage door and they were all so nice.

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