The OG’s of slapstick theatre are bringing the longest-running comedy of the West End back to Manchester. Returning with the original cast from their 2012 run, the Mischief Theatre troupe are falling over themselves to remind audiences why their joyous debut show is a classic creation worthy of multiple viewings.
The precarious storyline follows the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society as they attempt to showcase their latest 1920s mystery, The Murder at Haversham Manor. The show's light-hearted take on Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap recalibrates the plot with the team’s own chaotic comedy stylings that play out two hours of punchlines and pain. However, so much layered detail goes into this delightfully exaggerated production to keep the show moving swiftly along its tumultuous path.
Alongside its classic period costumes, the phenomenal set design of Nigel Hook brings the surreal comedy to life with its collapsable set that wields its own comedy power among the Opera House audience.
The energy from the whip-smart Mischief group brings together this infectious comedy with charming performances choreographed to perfection. As the production combines tributes to the greats like Chaplin, Keaton and the underrated Mr. Bean, the troupe’s modern spin brings about perilous stunts and pratfalls that are clearly dangerous for members of its cast to perform. Every member of the group is given plenty of opportunities to be harmed in Haversham Manor, but Jonathan Harris’s Spiderman agility and pratfalls bring the drama between the terrific and terrifying action.
Obviously, there is a great chemistry between the eight players of the Mischief group who have a long record of success with live productions including Peter Pan Goes Wrong and The Comedy About a Bank Robbery, that are helping to revitalise live physical comedy alongside their BBC The Goes Wrong Show.
The humour and fun of Mischief Theatre’s shows is in their absurdity and much like The Mousetrap, The Play That Goes Wrong’s bag of comedy tricks should be kept a secret for their live audiences to enjoy. It might not be a smooth sailing production for the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society, but Mischief Theatre definitely knows how to make a satisfying comedy spoof.
The writers/actors Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields pull together an unruly storyline with hilarious results. Performing to a packed-out Opera House audience, the show offers an inviting and positive atmosphere that is an effortless reminder of the necessity of live theatre. Through an explosion of well-timed chaos, the original Mischief Theatre’s cast are back to charge up the audience in Manchester. They are here for only one week and this is not a show to be missed.
Tickets are available via the ATG link