Richard and I saw *The Play That Goes Wrong* on Broadway on 1/1/18. It's a play by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields, it opened last spring, it's been on our radar for a while. We got conflicting reviews from two friends, both with trusted opinions: one said it was sophomoric and cheesy, the other said it was a laugh riot that could only be done by total pros. We decided to see it and decide for ourselves.
They were both right! The play shows a performance of a murder mystery by a small town community theatre group, and every three to five minutes something goes wrong. Hands are stepped on, doors are slammed in faces, the set falls apart, the dog goes missing. All of that and more. Best of all, we hear Duran Duran over the sound system rather than whatever sound cue we were supposed to hear. It was funny and yes, very professionally done, but the hilarity was spread a little thin by the end of the show. As is often the case, it would be better if it were a half hour shorter (the show was two hours and fifteen minutes, including the intermission). I know that the mishaps are achieved through clever set design, well-crafted physical comedy, and stability built through hours of rehearsal and performance, but still, it makes me uneasy to see actors appearing to be in danger. Not my idea of comedy.
My favorite performance was by Alex Mandel as the daffy brother. He had a guileless way of smiling at the audience and encouraging our applause. It wasn't egocentric, it was sincere and adorable.