Publisher: Elizabeth Hurd

“The Play That Goes Wrong!” for the Finest in Farce and the First in Flair

Joseph Campbell and Emily Pace display innocence. Photo courtesy of Miki Galloway

It is always fun to watch folk poke fun at themselves, and especially fun in theatre.  “The Play That Goes Wrong!” is about a theatrical company presenting a show called ‘The Murder at Haversham Manor’ and everything that can go wrong goes wrong in the show.  In order to do that, the actual production must be absolutely perfect in execution or the end result might not be funny.  Ashley Wells directs a perfect cast with a crew that handles the technical aspects flawlessly as they reveal the undeniable catastrophe that their imaginary counterparts are enduring in this English drawing room murder mystery!

It is announced that The Cornley University Drama Society has come to Oklahoma presenting a typically British murder mystery entitled ‘The Murder at Haversham Manor’ with some fanfare and quite a bit of what hit the fan.   The shows director is Chris Bean, also the director of the Cornley University Drama Society.  He also designs everything, responsible for almost every vital function of the production crew and it shows to disadvantage.  Trevor Watson is light and sound operator.  Annie Twilloil is Stage Manager.   A volunteer from the audience assists and on Saturday night Ian saved the day.  Or rather, Ian failed at saving the day.  Thankfully Bean is not the director of “The Play That Goes Wrong” as well. That is the task of Ashley Wells.  She knows what she is doing.  The character of Bean does not.  Bean also plays the important part of Inspector Carter.  Charles Haversham is Jonathan Harris, Thomas Colleymoore is Robert Grove, Perkins is Dennis Tyde, Florence Colleymoore is played by Sandra Wilkinson, Cecil Haversham is Max Bennett.  Bennett also plays Arthur the Gardener.  Many actors have been on stage with performers such as these to great dismay, but the humor of this show is that they are all unbelievably lost on their stage.

Joseph Campbell as Max Bennett playing Cecil Haversham and Jason Bias as Robert Grove playing Thomas Colleymoore are desperately trying to hold their home and the set together. Photo courtesy of Miki GAlloway

The true cast members for “The Play That Goes Wrong!” are all superb in their timing and elastic in their movements.  Ashley Mandanas is Annie the Stage Manager with flair and everything under complete lack of control while Alexi Smith is Trevor the crew member with new wave band  Duran Duran on his mind.  Scott Guthrie is Chris Bean, the know it all—do it all—fantastical failure and Police Inspector.  Grayson McMillian Fontana-Harless is Jonathan Harris the victim known as Charles Haversham with fabulously twitching death throes.  Jason Bias is Robert Colleymoore a somewhat fumbling and yet very pompous old school friend of the Haversham brothers.  Ronn Burton uses his fantastic face as Dennis Tyde playing Perkins, the old family retainer, the butler who doesn’t keep the family from falling apart.  Emily Pace is delightful and sexy as Sandra Wilkinson playing the intended wife of our hapless victim, Florence Colleymoore the sister of the old school chum.  Joseph Campbell is Max Bennett in the portrayal of  Cecil Haversham, the brother of Charles and master of the overstated charm of an English man about town.  He also portrays the gardener, Arthur, with singular bumbling bumkins. 

Ronn Burton is Dennis Tyde, playing Perkins. Photo courtesy of Miki Galloway

“The Play That Goes Wrong” is from the book by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields.  Ashley Wells directs with great expertise.  Assisting is Sydney Sinclair with Kimberly Powers designing the excellent set.  Costume designer is Jeffrey Meek, Props is Larry Heyman, lighting is Fabian J. Garcia and sound is Corey Rays.  The fight director and Intimacy couch is Kris Kuss and the stage manager is Grace Neal.  The performance owes a great deal to the perfection created by this crew and their backstage assistants as the illusion of chaos requires exact timing and focused concentration beyond the norm.  They make this farce a fabulous farce!

Alexi Smith as Trevor, exhibiting technical expertise. Photo courtesy of Miki Galloway

This production will have the audience in stitches and flabbergasted at the controlled chaos that abounds.  There is no pratfall this cast will not attempt, no flubbing of lines this cast will not flub and no expression this cast will not exaggerate.  It is also guaranteed that no audience member will fail to be drawn into the excitement, trepidation and hysterical horror that ensues as the stage dissolves in pieces and the audience dissolves in mirth.   Patrons are astounded that the show continues, but it does because as every actor knows the show must go on.  It is a very silly show and now is certainly the time for a bit of silliness in our drab lives as we move into a spring of hope and cheer for 2023.  We too shall persevere in spite of Murphy’s Law!

“The Play That Goes Wrong!” plays April 5 through April 23, 2023 at Lyric at the Plaza.  The Plaza District is an exciting venue in Oklahoma City and the address for the theatre is 1727 NW 16th Street.  For information visit and for tickets it is  Or call 405-524-9312.  Come early and grab a delicious slice of pizza or possibly just an ice cream cone.  Parking is available at the main offices at 1801 NW 16th, just a short walk from the theatre—not the daunting task it first appears!  This is a show for the funny bone, the silly soul and the fumbling farcical you that has been hiding out for 3 years bursting to get out!

Joseph Campbell as Max, Bennett, Grayson McMillian Fontana Harless as Jonathan Harris, Jason Bias as Thomas Colleymoore, and aEmily Pace as Sandra Wilkinson playing Florence Colleymoore emote. Photo courtesy of Miki Galloway.