ArtSpoken & Reviews
The Play That Goes Wrong gets it right
Peter Feldman04/01/2017 12:09:06
Peter Feldman: With swirling political turmoil engulfing the nation at the moment, we all need a tonic to lift the spirit - and "The Play That Goes Wrong" is just what the doctor ordered.
Already a hit in the UK, this hysterical enterprise had the audience at Pieter Toerien's Main Theatre at Montecasino almost rolling in the aisles - a rare sight to behold, indeed. I haven't laughed like this in months.
Directed by comedian Alan Committie, whose distinctive touch can be seen in almost every scene, "The Play That Goes Wrong" drives its eight-strong cast to such physical dexterity that the mind spins as they switch characters and positions and bravely try to keep their play on track as everything around them is slowly falling apart.
Some of South Africa's theatrical big names, Russel Savadier, Robert Fridjhon, Theo Landey and Craig Jackson, have been roped in and certainly let their hair down in a frenetic farce that raises the level of absurdity to dizzy new heights.
The premise is simple. The amateur Northriding Polytechnic Drama Society is staging a new play, "Murder at Haversham Manor," and its opening night is a disaster of Biblical proportions. Everything that can go wrong goes wrong, from falling scenery and props that don't work, to actors forgetting their lines and coming in at the wrong time. The cast, also comprising Robert Pombo, Nicole Franco, Sive Gubangxa and a tattooed Louis Viljoen, who plays Trevor, the inept Duran Duran super fan working in the sound box, are relentless in their action - and they hit their mark time and time again while conjuring up a maelstrom of madness in the process.
To go into any detail will spoil the fun, but suffice to say as an ensemble piece each of the performers contribute admirably to the overall impact of the production - and I'm just happy that nobody got seriously injured in the execution of their duties.
The Play That Goes Wrong is on at Pieter Toerien's Main Theatre, Montecasino, Fourway, until 30 April.
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Peter Feldman has been a journalist and arts critic for more than 50 years and served on The Star in various capacities for 35 years, ending up as a specialist writer on films, music and theatre. During that time, he travelled extensively on assignments and interviewed many international film and pop stars, both in South Africa and overseas. He also covered some of South Africa's biggest film and musical events. He is active in the freelance field and his work has appeared in a variety of South African newspapers and magazines. He writes regularly for Artslink.co.za, The Citizen, Saturday Star, The Next 48 Hours and The Sunday Independent. He has also worked on TV in his specialist capacity. Over the years Feldman has been the recipient of several awards for his contribution to music journalism and the SA record industry. He wrote lyrics for some top artists, including Sipho Mabuse, and had a hit disco single, "Video Games," which was released in 1988. He is credited with inventing the slogan "Local is Lekker" which he used on David Gresham's "4:30 Special" on Springbok Radio in the '70's and in his many columns.
Montecasino Complex, Fourways Johannesburg Gauteng South Africa