The hugely successful and ridiculously funny West End smash hit, The Play That Goes Wrong, is set to open its (slightly wonky) doors to the Australian public later this month…and we can’t wait.

It’s wacky, physical and filled with the brilliant comic timing that would inspire John Cleese and his Ministry of Silly Walks – in fact, the play is described as Fawlty Towers meets Noises Off and it WILL make you laugh out loud.

Co-writers Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields have  created nothing short of an award winning piece of tomfoolery that has garnered rave reviews over its approximate 3 year life span. Lewis credits several different inspirations behind The Play that Goes  Wrong but says Michael Green’s coarse acting plays and the idea of mishaps  onstage was a central one. “We’re big fans of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton and other classic silent comedians as well as Laurel and Hardy, and Monty Python,” says Lewis. “When we graduated from drama school we wanted to write something for ourselves to perform in together in the flat we shared at the time. Henry Shields, Jonathan Sayer and I wrote the first (1hr long) version of the show over about four weeks. We put the show on at The Old Red Lion Theatre in North London and it grew from there.”

Lewis is an Olivier Award winning writer, actor and is the Artistic Director of Mischief Theatre – the company that was formed in 2008 by students of The London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art to create ‘engaging and exciting, improvised and scripted comedy theatre of an excellent standard…’  The Play That Goes Wrong an unequivocal homage to their mission statement!

 With three writers offering, perhaps, differing styles and ideas, Lewis describes the collaboration  between the talented triptych as both challenging and advantageous. “It’s so important to give each other space but if you trust each other creatively, which we do, of course, there aren’t really any major issues,” says Lewis. “The plus side of having three of us is that we each have two sounding boards for ideas and jokes. If it’s something we all find funny it’s usually funny on stage in the  finished product. The best material is always the stuff that we have  the most fun writing.”

Taking the theatrical world by storm, the phenomenal comedy is set to open on Broadway shortly and its creators are on the ride of a lifetime. The huge success has come as a complete surprise to Lewis and the other collaborators who never predicted it would go on this incredible journey. “I think we knew from the first run we had tapped  into something that people found funny and that had a broad appeal but  we never thought, when we were at the Old Red Lion in Islington, that our show would be heading to Broadway,” says Lewis.


The play follows the very inept members of  The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society who are attempting to put on a complicated 1920’s murder mystery, and, as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong…does. For Lewis this simple and fun premise is the pearl in the oyster. “I think people like Cornley’s (the fictional drama society’s) endeavour to keep going no matter what and that’s what gets them into more trouble, ” he says. “Most of the disaster comes from the actors decisions made under pressure, and I think it’s funny that they’ve got themselves into the situation they’re in and have to get themselves out of it. Physical comedy is so universal and there’s plenty of that plus, I think, everyone can relate to being embarrassed in front of others and so can tap into the comedic idea of the whole thing very easily.”

For all the success that the hilarious The Play That Goes Wrong has given, its creators are not sitting idly on their creative laurels however they are ‘mum’ on what future plans may reveal. “We have lots of things in the pipeline but yet to be announced,” says Lewis. Projects in works is The Comedy About A Bank Robbery continuing in the West End with a new cast as is, of course, The Play that Goes Wrong which is also touring the UK this year. The team have just recorded Peter Pan Goes Wrong with the BBC and it was broadcast in the UK on New Years Eve.

The Play that Goes Wrong is rollicking good fun – you’d be mad to miss it!


The Play That Goes Wrong opens in Melbourne from February 22. For further dates and tours please see:

Image from UK production