The Play That Goes Wrong at the Theatre Royal Plymouth Review

24-29 July 2017


Reviewed by Linda Pickford

I had a particularly stressful morning yesterday and set off for the theatre tired and irritable. Immediately on taking my seat in the theatre my cares drifted away to be replaced by hilarious laughter. What a joy.

The play takes the storyline of a very inept polytechnic amateur theatre group performing a murder mystery thriller; “The Murder at Haversham Manor”. The title of the play really gives away the plot, as the story unfolds everything goes wrong. It starts with the Annie, the stage manager, and Trevor, the lighting and sound operator, trying to make adjustments to the wobbly set and searching for a missing dog. By the way, do make an effort to take your seats early in order to enjoy your evening to the full. Also read the theatre programme which actually is a programme within a programme and makes very interesting reading.

If you love farce or pantomime you will relish this performance, as did the children in the audience last night who joined in enthusiastically. Right from the beginning the furniture collapses, the doors fail to close and props go awry. In fact, the decanter of whisky has to be replaced by paint thinner resulting in much uncomfortable spitting out. The leading lady is knocked unconscious and is unceremoniously dragged through a window. It looked really painful and I worried for her safety. The stage manager (Katie Bernstein) takes her place with script in hand. This naturally leads to lost pages and mistimed cues. The continual slapstick, falling scenery and over the top acting keeps the audience on their toes in case they miss something.

I really enjoyed the collapsing set design and eagerly awaited the next disaster. The study floor gradual disintegration was fascinating to watch. The timing of the cast with the falling scenery was brilliantly choreographed. I watched with much horror and delight.

My husband and I really enjoyed our evening. Our only criticism would be that the cast sometimes carried on talking through the laughter and we missed some of the storyline.

If you want or need a good laugh then get yourself along to the Theatre Royal at Plymouth where you will experience a wonderful theatre experience with great staff and a welcoming ambiance. Parking is available in various places and there are plenty of restaurants and bars in the area.

Rating: 4/5

Tickets cost from £10 to £32.50 (booking fees may apply).

The Play That Goes Wrong is at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth from 24-29 July 2017, for more information or to book tickets visit or call the box office on 01752 267222.

Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, PL1 2TR | 01752 267222

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