Theatre Review: The Play That Goes Wrong @ Theatre Royal, Nottingham

Normally, I book my theatre trips months in advance.  My tickets for The Addams Family, for example, were booked about a year before I went to watch the show.  So it was a very different experience for me when my Dad asked if i wanted to book last minute to see The  Play That Goes Wrong at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham.

I feel a little late to the party here, as I know loads of people have seen it already and have been raving about it.  I also watched Peter Pan Goes Wrong on TV over Christmas ( which I loved) so I had some pretty high expectations.  So, on Monday night me, Dad, Mum and Mr Mess were sat in the last 4 seats in the theatre, ready to have a great evening full of hilarious antics.

I’ve really struggled with how I want to review this.  I can’t really talk about plot points, or even much about the performances as I don’t want to give too much away. (The element of surprise is a key component to what makes the play brilliant.)  When I’m watching a show that I know I will be reviewing I often have thoughts pop into my head, like bullet points, which I want to write about later. (I really should take a pen and paper with me for these moments).  For this post, I thought I’d share with you random thoughts that popped into my head while watching “The Play That Goes Wrong”.

  • I was very disappointed with myself when a stagehand came running past asking if anyone had seen a runaway dog called Winston.  It took me far too long to realise that the show had already started. Shameful, really.
  • I am always massively impressed when people who are very good at something have to pretend they are very bad at it.  This was clearly a cast with an enormous amount of talent who did an incredible job of making it look like they had none.  I loved it!
  • That set design is clearly a work of technical genius.  Like a good magic trick, I would love to go backstage and see how it all works.  I have a pretty good idea, yet I was still mesmerized.
  • I have never seen so many weird and wonderful ways to accidentally injure yourself on stage.
  • Speaking of injury, for a show entitled “The Play That Goes Wrong”, I can only assume that things very rarely ACTUALLY go wrong.  One person in the wrong place or a slip in timing could potentially lead to an unfortunate incident.
  • I also assume that the writer of the play had experienced a fair bit of “bad” theatre.  In my amateur career I’ve seen a few of these things in real life, such as looping dialogue or faulty sets.  I could tell you some horror stories, believe me.
  • I was going to talk about my favourite characters but really it just wouldn’t be fair to single people out.  Each cast member had their own unique qualities and characteristics and they were all bloody brilliant.
  • It was genuinely hilarious, with a great variety of gags and slapstick.  The theatre echoed with laughter from start to finish.  I found it a thoroughly therapeutic and uplifting experience.
  • Due to the onstage antics of the two leading ladies I have absolutely NO idea how the murder mystery ended.  I think I caught “Whodunnit”, but wouldn’t have the foggiest how or why.  To be fair, by the end of the play I don’t think anyone was that worried about the plot.

To summarise, as Mr Mess said on our way home, this show really uses all of the best techniques of the theatre to showcase some of the absolutely worst parts.  It’s a stroke of genius and guaranteed to have you chuckling for a long time after the curtain (and the rest) falls.

If you are one of the very few people who haven’t ready seen this award-winning comedy, then I suggest you pull your finger out and get some tickets booked.  According to the official website, The Play That Goes Wrong is ending it’s current UK tour in mid-August, so you’d best be quick!



  1. Lauren says:

    Oh I’ve never heard of this but I’m definitely going to have to read up on it because it sounds like such an interesting concept for a show

    Lauren | Lauren the Daydreamer

  2. Rachael says:

    I think I would have also paid no thought to the fact that a dog called Winston was loose! I’d probably be out of my seat trying to help catch him!

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