‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ is the right choice for a night out

Need a break from the holiday overload? Then, you’re ironically in luck with this theatrical disaster. 

“The Play That Goes Wrong” is destined to be a mess soon as you grab your Playbill. The title of the program is cut off by the border and off-centered. It’s a show that’s meant to fail for all the right reasons. 

Structured as a play within a play, the Cornley University Drama Society is presenting “The Murder at Haversham Manor.” The drama society members don’t seem quite prepared as they’re frantically fixing up the stage while audience members are looking for their seats. 

The production only goes downhill from there in proving that it’s a serious drama. And it has nothing to do with the murder mystery plot! Stage malfunctions and terrible acting come together to make the play a slap-stick comedy. Thanks to the cast, you don’t feel bad laughing at all the misfortune.

There’s Chris (Evan Alexander Smith), the overdramatic director and leading actor who’s trying to keep the show together. The lighting and sound board operator, Trevor (Brandon J. Ellis), couldn’t care less on being there but the audience will love his careless mistakes. Honestly, everyone on stage brings their own level of humor to add to the enjoyable absurdity.

What’s interesting about this comedy though is that the set design brings a whole new level of physical comedy to the show. Designed by Nigel Hook, the set falls apart (literally) and it almost feels like a magic show on how random mishaps happen. 

If you’re debating whether the humor is appropriate for children, I’m surprised to say that while the show isn’t aimed for kids, your tweens and teens will laugh, too. There’s enough slapstick comedy for younger ones to stay entertained and your older kids can pick up on the clever humor as well. If your family enjoys quirkiness, then they’ll love “The Play That Goes Wrong.”

If you go

“The Play That Goes Wrong”

Through Dec. 16

Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St., Chicago

Tickets start at $25

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