I saw The Play That Goes Wrong at the Duchess Theatre for the first time in 2014 (read my LDNCARD review here). I have some unforgettable memories laughing and giggling, so hard my facial muscles hurt, and that doesn’t happen often. It was so good I preferred it more than that musical that won multiple Tony Awards – The Book of Mormon – (believe it or not) and came back to see it again after a year or so.
The Mischief Theatre team are the creative geniuses behind the comedy, and they’re an energetic bunch. They’re crafty and bonkers, all, at the same time. Don’t believe me? Then go see them in action for yourself. Their show, The Play That Goes Wrong is still going strong at the Duchess Theatre. They also have a new play, which was released in 2017, The Comedy About A Bank Robbery showing now at the Criterion Theatre.
If you see any of their shows you’re guaranteed to have a great night. They’re absolutely hilarious. Even the cast have to hold back from laughing on stage from all the crazy happenings. Their success has gone beyond West End and over the pond to Broadway where The Play That Goes Wrong has become the longest-running Broadway play.
It was the original founders of Mischief Theatre that made it an unforgettable experience for me though. They returned back to the West End for a short run, at the end of 2017, to showcase their improv show Mischief Movie Night. For every show, Mischief Theatre had no idea what it was going to be about or how it was going to end. It largely depended on the audiences’ participation and ideas to create something fun, hilarious and unique. The production ran for 8 weeks and was an hour-long each.
Based at the Arts Theatre in Leicester Square, the host Oscar, performed by Jonathan Sayer, asked the audience to pick a genre, dramatic moment, film title, and more. Then it was up to the creative cast to think on their feet and let the show go wherever their bizarre ideas would take them. Oscar would shout ‘pause’, then prompt them with reminders of what the audience said they wanted to see. As much as the cast tried to keep it in-line with the story, most of the time it was beyond ridiculous, but it didn’t matter because the jokes were wacky and cunning, too.
On the night I attended (January 25th, 2018), it was a match between a murder mystery and Vampire Romance genre. The vampire love story won. Someone from the audience called out ‘ballet’, then another person shouted out ‘Russia’. I remember the audience leaning forward with intrigue. And there, right in the front of the stage, a gentleman shouted out ‘the neck-cracker!’ Instantly, we were sold. It was just as eccentric, original and interesting as it sounds.
We, the audience, were so thrilled to see what the cast could come up with, and it was marvellous. Although, not all scenes were perfect, vampiric or fantasy-esque, but that’s the point. For example, no one was classically trained in ballet. The audience got to see a few wonky pirouettes and it was ten points for the cast’s sheer effort. That, and a faux accent from Transylvania.
Sadly the improv show finished its run last week, but I have no doubt that it will return. In the meantime, I’m checking dates to see The Comedy About A Bank Robbery next. I can’t wait! Let the laughter ensue!