Monday, January 30

The Play That Goes Wrong – Liverpool Empire

The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society has finally found the play for their member numbers and the time has come for them to put it in front of an audience, but are they ready?

Mischief Comedy’s The Play That Goes Wrong focuses on the Drama Society’s performance of Murder at Haversham Manor and is two hours of guaranteed laughs and enjoyment. Written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, it is a comedy and a piece that will stand the test of time, as there is no actual time period mentioned throughout the piece.

The comedic timing is absolutely spot on and to be able to deliver the piece straight-faced, whilst standing in exactly the right place at the right time, so as not to mess up any of the cues definitely takes a special type of skill. Just when you think nothing else could go wrong for the cast and stage management team, something inevitably does. Whether it’s a clever slip of the tongue or something malfunctioning with the set, the laughs just constantly keep on coming over the two hours of the play.

The cast must all have been trained to a high level, to make sure that everything ran as (un)smoothly as possible, and it all went according to what we hope was the plan. Harry Boyd was understudying the director Chris Bean (who was also playing the inspector in the murder mystery) and he managed to capture the essence of the character whilst also keeping it updated for the tour and got in a few digs at the scouse accent and other aspects of where the tour is currently. Gabriel Paul as Trevor, the stage manager was a masterclass in comedic (non)timing and had the audience in stitches, both before the show had even started and throughout the evening.

Nigel Hook’s set design is perfect, bringing the sense of an Am-dram production, but allowing it to do what they want it to, and it is accompanied well by Ric Mountjoy’s lighting.

This is definitely a production not to be missed and will be enjoyed by all the family and friends. It is a perfect example of how a comedy should be done and how an Am-dram production should not!

The Play That Goes Wrong continues at the Liverpool Empire until 28th May, then continues on its UK tour. Tickets are available at

Reviewer: Jenn McKean

Reviewed: 23rd May 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★