Review: The Play That Goes Wrong at The Lowry

I like to think that I have a fairly good grip on the entertainment zeitgeist.

‘Think’ and ‘fairly’ being the key words.

As although I am aware of the theatre production The Play That Goes Wrong, I wasn’t aware of the television show ‘The Goes Wrong Show’, until asked by a friend whether it translated well from screen to stage.

Ill-informed little old me couldn’t answer that question, but could offer up, without any preconception or bias, that the stage show had the Lowry theatre audience laughing from start to finish. Well technically ‘pre-start’ when, with the house lights still up, we were asked by a ‘sound engineer’ for help in locating the production’s dog who had escaped his leash


I was proud of myself for immediately embracing the spirit of the occasion, and checking under my seat in search of said dog (spoiler – a set up for a later gag), all the while privy to the sight of the ‘crew’ and ‘stagehands’ busily preparing the stage and trying to right the wrongs already being encountered such as dodgy fixtures and fittings which refused to play ball.

The scene for the evening’s entertainment was quite literally set.

A fortunate, frequent visitor to the theatres (and indeed all performance spaces) of Manchester (yes, ok this is Salford), a tinge of tension still accompanies me to every production as I tend to over-emote towards the cast and crew involved. I provide the empathy that nobody asked for. The nerves, the worry that some poor soul will fluff their line, miss their cue, take a tumble.

Here I could relax. The clue’s in the title, I could just sit back and let it all go wrong without a tear in my eye or a lump in my throat for the parties involved. For on this occasion to be wrong was to be all right on the night.

The Play That Goes Wrong is in effect a play within a play.

Brought to us by Mischief Theatre, the ‘Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’ presents ‘Murder at Haversham Manor’.

And really quite badly.

Still with me?

If I was blogging about Murder at Haversham Manor, I’d have had to dig deep to provide anything positive to say, and dig even deeper not to book myself and the entire production into a course of therapy afterwards.

Sound, set, props, prompts – nothing was left unfettered.

Wardrobe malfunctions, mispronunciations…and one character knocked out cold on more than one occasion, played by more than one ‘actor’…

Farce can go very wrong (if you’ll forgive the paradox of this statement). Like all comedy, planning and timing is key. Fawlty Towers gives the masterclass in this, ‘the kipper episode’ springing to mind immediately. It requires a balance and rhythm and The Play That Goes Wrong kept to the beat throughout.

I enjoyed the audience reactions as much as the action on stage to be honest.

I’ve missed being in a full auditorium, not least one filled with continual laughter. I’m talking proper belly laughs. The type you used to hear on old variety shows and sitcoms before canned laughter took hold.

On until this Sunday 22 August, don’t miss your chance to see the multi-award winning The Play That Goes Wrong.

For full details and to book, visit

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