Friday, July 21st, was a night of boisterous laughter at The World Renowned Kennedy Center in the Nation's Capital as The Play That Goes Wrong made a stop. The play can be likened to a combination of Sherlock Holmes and Monty Python, resulting in an entertaining Broadway production.
The story's plot centers around an inexperienced theater troupe trying to perform a murder mystery production. Despite their best efforts, they encounter several setbacks, including falling set pieces, malfunctioning doors, and missed cues, seemingly following Murphy's Law. As we enter the venue, it becomes clear that the "play" has already started. Stagehand Trevor (played by Akron Watson) greets us, and we can observe the backstage crew making final touches to the set, such as fixing a broken mantelpiece.
We meet Chris (Matt Harrington) from Cornley University, who recently received a large inheritance. Society is performing The Murder at Haversham Manor, a 1920s murder mystery play similar to The Mousetrap, which has the perfect number of parts for the members. The script was written a fictitious author who wrote hits such as Two Sisters, The Lion and The Wardrobe, Cat, and James and the Peach (or James, Where's your Peach?).
The authentic charm of this play lies in its unwavering dedication to the art of failure. Each prop malfunction, missed cue, and forgotten line is executed with such vigor that it transforms into a masterclass in comedy brilliance. The actors, including Joeseph Anthony Byrd, Peyton Crim, Bartley Booz, Mara Davi, Alex Mandell, and Kai Heath, showcase their remarkable talent by expertly keeping their cool despite everything falling apart.
The brilliance of The Play That Goes Wrong is that it goes beyond the limits of the stage. As a member of the audience, you become involved and eagerly await the next mishap with excitement. This shared experience brings everyone together in uncontrollable laughter, creating an exhilarating atmosphere that leaves you breathless from all the giggles.
The set design is a marvel, ingeniously crafted to be a character in its own right. From doors that refuse to open to collapsing walls, it's a labyrinth of slapstick surprises that adds an extra layer of hilarity to the already riotous proceedings. The attention to detail is impeccable, and the set becomes a living, breathing entity that conspires against the cast in the most mischievous ways.
The Play That Goes Wrong may not be a theatrical masterpiece, but it is a celebration of imperfections that you must attend! It invites you to relish in the pure pleasure of unfiltered mayhem and unpredictability, reminding us that the most fantastic entertainment often comes from the unexpected.
So, if you need a good laugh and an escape from the mundane, this play is an absolute must-see!
Final Grade: B+
The Play The Goes Wrong runs through August 13th at The Kennedy Center.