It opens tonight at Theatre on the Bay in Cape Town, runs until December 1 and then transfers to Montecasino in Joburg from December 7 to January 6.
The award-winning hit comedy (accolades include a 2015 Olivier Award) builds on the notion of silly and madcap and is presented in a framework of organised chaos, which is utterly thrilling to watch as the cast of eight dazzle with physically amped, superbly crafted comedy.
As we head for the silliness of the festive season, this is an antidote to decompress through laughter.
The play is directed by Alan Committie. The cast features Daniel Janks, Nicole Franco, Sive Gubangxa, Louis Viljoen, Craig Jackson, Roberto Pombo, Russel Savadier and Antony Coleman.
In The Play That Goes Wrong, we see a play of sorts unfold - with disastrous consequences. An English dramatic society is attempting to stage a 1920s murder mystery and it goes pear-shaped.
The stage manager (played by brilliant Louis Viljoen), who is a Duran-Duran nut, is chilled and continues flipping his mixed tape as everyone trips over one another.
Viljoen was in season 1 but not in season 2, and I look forward to seeing him rejoin the cast. He cracked me up, as did the other artists, who demonstrate one of the best pieces of comedic ensemble acting that I have seen in this country.
Committie has intricately choreographed the action. He keeps the zany narrative on track - a convoluted track, yes - and the structure is always there.
The play was written collectively by a UK improv outfit, The Mischief Theatre Company.
After they established the gag lines and physical comedy manoeuvres, they laid down a blueprint in a script which is intricately accompanied by stage instructions.
It’s a mad journey, but the artists are following a precisely laid-out script where everything has been charted.
The pace is fast and furious and there are no lags, with gags going on and on, and Committie keeping everything in check.
The set - designed by Brit Nigel Hook - was custom-made in South Africa at a cost of R500000.
Every detail from the UK set was replicated, from the wallpaper to other embellishments and interior design details of an English manor house.
The set is almost like another character. It is more an installation, than a set - a moving apparatus with pieces that move, shift, fall and disappear: stairs cascading, trapdoors opening, walls collapsing.
The artists slip, slide and slither through spaces and platforms, and things literally go bump in the night.
The plot? Who cares about the plot! It is complicated, as English caper mysteries set in manors in the countryside tend to be.
The Play That Goes Wrong is a spoof of the whodunit genre, but goes beyond taking the mickey and builds into a hyper-entertaining piece: visually and physically breathtaking, with delicious dialogue which leaves one spluttering with laughter.
It is, as the English say, not everyone’s cup of tea. Some people hate the Goons and Monty Python and cannot understand that people find them funny. Evidently most have found this production shriekingly funny.
The last two seasons were sold out. By sold out, we mean totally sold out - with not one seat available. When I saw it second time around, there were people hanging around the box office anxiously waiting for returns.
I was spluttering from laughter on both occasions that I saw this play and I look forward to the third injection of laughter.
* Tickets for the season at the Theatre on the Bay are R130-R230. Tickets are R100-R240 for the season in Joburg at Montecasino. Tickets can be booked at Computicket or through the theatres.