The Off-Broadway Transfer of the Broadway, West End, and International Hit, “THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG” which is now playing at New World Stages 340 W. 50th St. NYC.-Stage 4 was written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields, is directed by Matt Dicarlo, based on the Original Staging of Matt Bell, and is now presented by The Mischief Theatre.
“Don’t you love farce? My fault I fear”……”Send In The Clowns”, from “A Little Night Music” by Stephen Sondheim.
Well, the clowns have re-arrived indeed at the New World Stages and they are a crack ensemble of the mostly newly cast players of this remarkable piece of comic pottery that is carefully constructed to keep a multitude of theatergoers chortling, giggling, and guffawing for a clear two hours while regrouping their diaphragms during a 15-minute intermission.
The names of these particular clowns are, in order of appearance: Ryan Vincent Anderson(as Trevor, (as the burly Lighting and Sound Operator who’s a devotee of Duran Duran),
Matt Harrington, (as Chris who portrays Inspector Carter and is responsible for EVERYelement of the production, that being, “The Murder At Haversham Manor” via The Cornley University Drama Society),
Chris Lanceley (as Jonathan, who begins as a corpse and moves on from there),
Brent Bateman (as Robert, who actually has an Ad in the program for Robert Grove’s School For Acting Perfectly),
Bartley Booz (as Dennis who plays the butler, Perkins with arguably the worst hair whitening on a juvenile you’ve witnessed since your High School production of “You Can’t Take It with You”‘),
Ashley Reyes (as Sandra, who vamps an hysteric femme fatale I’ve not seen the like since the great Imogen Coca in the first years of “Your show Of Shows”),
Matt Walker (as Max who valiantly twits his way through two roles of Cecil and The Gardener whose absent dog is invisibly present on a chain to hound the culprit at the last), and
Bianca Horn (as Annie, the Stage Manager, who’s forced to assume the role previously occupied by Sandra, but due to unforeseen circumstances, finds her acting muse
and competitive demon). ALL, of these players mentioned in this farce within what questionably could be called a play deserve assiduous attention and unbridled praise!
What modestly began as a Fringe Presentation in London in 2014 from a group of colleagues from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, they being, Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields. soon dubbed themselves, “The Mischief Theatre” and put forth this offering of an obscure university’s effort at producing a 1920’s Murder Mystery and upon opening night, Murphy’s Law prevails. Everything, repeat, EVERYTHING that can possibly go wrong does with a strategic precision that never fails to elicit every variable laugh imaginable, virtually non-stop.
Particular praise must go to the Scenic Design of Nigel Hook, for which he deservedly won the Tony Award for its Broadway run. It becomes the 9th character itself during the course of the production with a life of its own and the malevolence of Iago.
That the players of “The Murder At Haversham Manor” seemingly survive their opening performance appears to be a miracle and one can imagine that a major part of the miracle workings go to the original director, Mark Bell and the now faithful recreation of Bell’s staging by the original PSM, Matt Dicarlo.
What began five years ago before an audience that numbered half the cast members, grew to be the still running West End hit, that tours the provinces of the UK, conquered Broadway for over a year, has been seen by over 2,000,000 theatergoers internationally, and now can be enjoyed at Off-Broadway prices in midtown Manhattan. If, like I, you had yet to attend this theatrical phenomenon, correct that Wrong and Rightly get yourselves to the New World Stages and be provided with perhaps the best of medicines!
For more information and tickets, go to the New World Stages website