Actually, as it turns out remarkably well. It is true that it did take a little bit of getting used to seeing these new people inhabiting the characters I knew so well. Who was that lady, for instance, pretending to be Annie? She didn't look the way I remember so fondly dragging me onto the Royal stage, (it was now Catherine Dryden, it turned out), and Trevor, let's say he had seriously changed on a scale that Sandra was going to as the play went from disaster to disaster. However, it didn't take me long to stop worrying about these new actors, as, unsurprisingly, Mischief Theatre have found some crackers to take their baby on the road once again (this was the second performance of a tour which doesn't stop until September).
|Kazeem Tosin Amore as Robert, Jake Curran as Chris, Benjamin McMahon as Dennis|
Elsewhere there are no grounds for alarm in any of the other characters, Trevor maintains a chaotic edge of not having a clue and actually, new performer Gabriel Paul brings a new, cooler dynamic to the role, suave Trevor, I like it. Benjamin McMahon perhaps of all the characters remains the closest visually to the original as Dennis, and shows great timing in all of his failure's as an actor and his lack of pronunciation, still providing many of the best moments of the play.
I particularly liked the new Robert and Sandra, the pompous pair who clearly think they are better actors than this disaster of a company deserves (but clearly not). As Robert, Kazeem Tosin Amore brings a nice sophistication to the role, and he is clearly an actor with the presence that Robert himself can only dream of. Elena Valentine's Sandra brings all the glamour and crazed acting ability required for the role to the fore. In a part that often just consists of posing, strutting or acting far too loudly, Valentine brings everything required. These two also have some of the most physically challenging aspects of the play to perform, so whether dealing with subsidence of set, or unexpected window withdrawals, they show exceptional physicality as well.
|Elena Valentine as Sandra and Bobby Hirston as Max|
Going off script leads me to still perhaps my favourite character of the play, that of Annie Twilloil, stage manager extraordinaire. In the original, Annie was played by the amazing Nancy Wallinger (now Zamit), so with big shoes to fill, Catherine Dryden steps into them and succeeds immensely. There is if anything an even sweeter nature to Dryden's performance that makes the character even more endearing and leaves the audience still perhaps on her side later in the show when things go a "little" crazy. I loved the new Annie, but I couldn't possibly say more than the original, however, fab.
Benjamin McMahon as Dennis and Kazeem Tosin Amore as Robert
This was just the second performance from this brand-new touring cast, and while most things went rather well (if that makes sense), there were just a few moments where things didn't go right (and that is intentionally right). There were a few slightly unslick prop moments, which to someone who hasn't seen the show before wouldn't have spotted. However, for a show that relies on timing so much, this is all understandable and there is no doubt that this clearly extremely talented cast with have everything perfected extremely soon.
Having the chance to see this remarkable show a fourth time allows the opportunity to continue to witness a new audience experience it for the first time. Personally, I no longer get the tears streaming down my face and creasing up in the stalls (that's an uncomfortable place to crease) that I got on the first couple of occassions. My enjoyment has moved onto an amazing appreciation of the show and seeing the work of it's incredible performers in a new light, I sit ready and waiting for the next thing that I now know is going to go wrong and get excited for how people around me are going to experience that moment.
Incredibly The Play That Goes Wrong truly appeals to all ages, but equally incredibly, it doesn't appeal to all, I know a select, but very tiny few that didn't get ist broad, slapstick humour. However, there are few shows that I have recommended as freely as I have that of The Play That Goes Wrong. Also if you have witnessed Mischief Theatre's shows on television the last couple of years and been unsure of their appeal, let us be clear Mischief as the theatre, live, is an incredibly different beast and you should unquestionably seek them out as they travel the whole country on this tour which runs until September.
The runaway success story of modern theatre continues to soar.
Performance reviewed: Friday 5th January 2018 at the Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton.
The Play That Goes Wrong runs at the Royal & Derngate until Sunday 7th January 2018 before embarking on a 36 stop tour. Details at http://www.theplaythatgoeswrong.com/uk-tour/tickets.
Photos: Robert Day