It’s a good year for Mischief Theatre: Peter Pan Goes Wrong won audiences at Christmas, The Bank Robbery debuted to glowing reviews (except for that one **, as we were reminded), and their original West End production is as funny as ever!
Following their less than brilliant production of Cats, The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society is back with a murder mystery, but who could have done it? Charles, Florence, the butler, the other Florence? Possibly find out in Cornley’s attempt to stage this show…attempt being the operative word. But the show must go on and aided by their trusty crew, they’ll get to the end if it kills them! Literally!
Mischief Theatre have hit upon a great format of a play within a play, full of farce, physical comedy and a razor sharp wit. It was my second time watching it and it’s amazing what gets a bigger laugh on what night. My favourites lines this time: ‘You’ve put me in a difficult position’, ‘Can you move her hands from her face?’ and ‘Pass me the receiver, Perkins’. The timing is so spot on. The scene before the end of first half with the ‘So who could have done it…?’ is absurdly brilliant and had everyone in hysterics (once they’d clocked on to what was happening). They’ve not only got the timing down with the laughs, but the staging too. I can’t imagine just how precise some of the physical scenes need to be, so that no one gets hurt. One scene in particular springs to mind: Charles in the study upstairs and poor Florence’s repeated mishaps. My only critique: I have seen this two times and am still unclear as to how the play with a play ends, because I was laughing too much to pay attention to the plot!
The cast is absolutely hilarious, with no weak link. Harry Kershaw’s Director is suitably deadpan and has the audience corpsing over his dead body scenes. Leonard Cook has possibly my favourite voice ever and is my favourite character without a doubt: ‘Good God…I needed that’. James Marlowe plays the hopeless Romantic Cecil, hopeless in that he really doesn’t want to be romantic with Bryony Corrigan’s Florence! Florence is probably the least well fleshed out character, but with not two but three people playing her it’s understandable why. Matthew Cavendish’s Perkins is funny and has some great moments with the scotch. Finally, Fred Gray’s Trevor and Laura Kirman’s Annie try their best to keep everything moving backstage (and on stage at points), making for some of the funniest moments of the whole show.
Verdict: So wrong, but so right! Who would’ve thought a corpse could make you corpse!