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The Play That Goes Wrong – This Wrong Is Oh So Right!

The Play That Goes Wrong – This Wrong Is Oh So Right!
Broadway in Chicago’s gamble is absolutely the right play at the right time. Staged in the intimate settings of the , The Play That Goes Wrong is the Broadway and London Award-winning romp, most welcomed in a time audiences hunger for a sincere, hearty laugh. Written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, this play is a classic murder mystery peppered with slapstick, madcap missteps and mindless mayhem. Totally unique to this particular production, this silly comedic caper featured an entirely Chicago based company performing a contemporary Broadway hit.

Photo credit Jeremy Daniels

For a little backstory, Wrong began in London, England back in 2012 as an emerging original comedy. By 2015, it was impressing audiences nightly and went on to win the prestigious Best New Comedy 2015 Laurence Olivier Award. Two years later in 2017, the show crossed the pond and transferred to Broadway for a successful run that added the Tony Award for Best Scenic Design of a Play to its trophy case. 2019 saw an Off-Broadway production mounted, temporarily shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now it is playing seven shows a week in the Windy City. Directors Mark Bell and Matt DiCarlo kept the pace quick in a show that is best described as a delightful escape from the nightly news and the Squid Gameshorror show of daily reality. Silly, harmless, camp, with sight gags and physical comedy that are best compared to an updated Noises Off meets The Carol Burnett Show, with a dash of The Three Stoogesand a pinch of I Love Lucy.

Photo credit Jeremy Daniels

Without spoiling too much of the story, the show is about a small theatre company playing a small theater company. Very Meta, but not taking itself seriously for one iota of a second. Set against a backdrop of a 1920’s style murder mystery, the cast of the fictious play, The Murder at Haversham Manor, might have tried to play it straight, but comedic disaster unfolded around every corner. Misplaced props, deliriously dropped lines, intentionally missed cues and collapsing scenic design pieces delivered uproarious results.

Photo credit Jeremy Daniels

In the leading roles of Inspector Carter and Chris Bean, Chicago’s own Matt Mueller brought charisma and whimsey to his characterizations. He joins his equally talented sisters, also headlining current live theatrical events in The Big Apple. Sister Jessie Mueller, won the Tony Award for her leading role in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, and is soon to be seen in the Tracy Lett’s play, The Minutes, at the Cort Theatre. Abby Mueller is currently playing Jane Seymour, one of the Henry Vlll’s Tudor Queens in the runaway Broadway hit, Six the Musical. Not to be outdone here, Mueller played the show within a show’s director, costume designer, prop master, press person, dialect coach and fight choreographer. Scene stealer, Ernaisja Curry, was winning as the nonplussed stage manager turned performer, Annie Twilloil. Jonah D. Winston’s always welcomed booming baritone added much to his dual roles of Robert Grove & Thomas Colleymoore. Kelly O’Sullivan continued to prove women can and should do comedy. Take that, Jerry Lewis! Never has an unconscious character(s), Sandra Wilkinson/Florence Colleymoore,commanded such attention. Finally, Colton Adams’ lighting and sound operator, Trevor Watson, proved an audience favorite.

Photo credit Jeremy Daniels

For those looking for a much-needed escape, head directly to Broadway in Chicago’s The Play That Goes Wrong. This laugh riot physical comedy will charm even the dourest of souls. The harmless silliness will make you forget mask mandates (but do wear your mask and bring your current vaccination card or current negative test results for entry to the theater) and world woes. Who couldn’t be grateful for that? The Play That Goes Wrong is just the correct amount of much needed right!

Photo credit Jeremy Daniels

Photo credit Jeremy Daniels

The Play That Goes Wrong is now playing through April 3, 2022 at The Broadway Playhouse in Chicago

Out of Town

Stephen S. Best is currently a freelance writer for the Times Square Chronicles, covering the performing arts scene in the greater Chicagoland area. He has been a theater aficionado for years, attending his first live production, Annie, at the tender age of six. After graduating from Purdue University, Stephen honed his skills attending live theater, concerts and art installations in New York and Chicago. Stephen's keen eye and thorough appreciation for both theater patrons' time and entertainment dollar makes him a valuable asset and his recommendations key. Stephen currently lives in downtown Chicago.

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