And that’s exactly what I ended up doing on Saturday night, when I attended The Play That Goes Wrong, directed by Alan Committie.
It’s a play about a play staged by The Northriding Polytechnic Drama Society, where they solve The Murder at Haversham Manor – although, they often bungle manor with house.
Now amateur doesn’t even begin to describe the unfolding shenanigans on stage.
Before the lights dim and Chris (Savadier), who is the director of the production, proudly introduces the play in a very tongue-in-cheek fashion, recollecting their earlier works – such as Cat or James and the Peach, which had to be renamed to James, where’s the Peach – the “set designers” work on their patch-up jobs to get the stage ready.
However, their attempt to erect a fireplace mantle falls apart, literally.
Then there are a few issues with the door.
But, hey, the show has to go on and so, despite the shoddy patch-up work, it does.
In the opening scene, Jonathan (Landey), who plays Charles Haversham, clumsily makes his way onto the chaise couch to play dead on the night of his engagement party.
After several failed attempts to get through the door into the room by Dennis (Roberto Pombo), who plays the butler Perkins, and Robert (Fridjhon) as Thomas Colleymoore, they sneak into the room via a side stage entrance.
And, horror of horrors, they discover the corpse of Charles Harversham. Unfortunately, the stage manager Trevor (Louis Viljoen) isn’t attentive to the cues and often misses his mark to dim the lights or help the actor with a line pick-up.
Add an OTT fiancée Sandra (Franco), as Florence Colleymoore, to the mix and the melodrama – together with her fainting spells – reaches rip-roaring highs.
Meanwhile, Chris (Savadier) as Inspector Carter braves a snowstorm to arrest the culprit at the manor.
At first, he tries to establish cause of death. Thereafter, he looks at the motive and list of suspects.
As much as everyone tries to play their part, including Max (Jackson) as Cecil Haversham and Arthur the Gardener, everything that could go wrong, does.
From the set falling apart, the bungling of lines, the props malfunctioning and an “understudy” being thrown into the mix – as well as Trevor, distracted no end by his missing Duran Duran CD, gauchely stepping into Florence’s role.
Let’s not forget about the resulting cat-fight between Annie (the understudy) and Sandra, about who is to play Florence or Jonathan and who step into the wrong scene on several occasions.
Every actor in this production deserves a standing ovation for their respective performances, more so with Max, who plays his star-starved roles with such remarkable comic timing, especially with his body language.
The Play That Goes Wrong is a wonderfully enacted and sublimely directed farce that leaves the audience in complete stitches from start to finish.
Despite the production falling apart at the seams on stage, the murder gets solved... eventually!