Miami Does Right in “The Play That Goes Wrong” 

This show is about the set, the lighting, the props, the stage managers, actor feuds, and run crew. Anything that could “go wrong” on stage does.  You will laugh.

Review by Liz Eichler

Judging by the almost full house for Opening Night of “The Play That Goes Wrong,” it looks like Miami University Theatre program is doing a lot of great things. It is stretching the majors and MU theatre community with a show requiring accents, physical comedy, farce, and technical skills. It is also introducing a whole new group of people to the vibrancy of live theatre.  The audience reactions during key moments of the comedy were almost as much fun as the action on stage. (IYKYK.)

The audience around me revealed there were many first timers at any show on campus (yay for class requirements). They laughed and reacted with such joy and genuine concern for the safety of the cast–it was priceless.  (Note: there are a number of disclaimers in the program which assure you the “mistakes” are engineered for laughter.) One said “I’m out of breath! I needed these laughs.” Quite an antidote to the end of the semester stress.

The Play That Goes Wrong Plot

The story is that there are two stories.  One, is the whodunit “Murder at Haversham Manor” and the other is the group of actors and crew from the “Cornley Drama Society” who are putting on the show.  You will see a young male ingenue play the audience like a keyboard, a fight between the leading lady and an understudy, the hunt for a CD, and of course, the hilarious results of one of the most inept tech staffs to ever run a Drama Society production.  

This show is about the set, the lighting, the props, the stage managers, actor feuds, and run crew. Anything that could “go wrong” on stage does. To great comedic effect. You WILL laugh.

If you like the first act, the second act “goes worse” for the scenery. The cantilevered platform tests the agility of the cast. The stage elevator goes kaput. Sound cues misfire, lighting is off. The ladies go full WWE. But the Drama Society players continue and are gracious for the applause. 

The Production Team

Miami’s “The Play That Goes Wrong” is directed by Lewis Magruder who keeps the action moving. Scene Design by Curtis Mortimore and Brian C. Seckfort. Costumes by Lisa Martin-Stuart. Lighting by Cassie Mings. Sound by Charlotte Perez. Shout out to Stage Managers Maggie Ballard, El Eavenson and Lauren Lewis who manage the chaos well.

The Cast of
The Cast of “The Play That Goes Wrong” at Miami University Theatre.

The Cast

The ensemble includes the Max Kaufman (hamming it up as a male ingenue/caretaker), Tod Fish (who spends much of his time “dead”), Charlie Makee, Bradley Beck, Jamie Ellen Ripperger, Audrey Cowan, Mallory Miller, Justin Bourne, Tammy Sanow, and Michael Ferguson.

When I saw this on Broadway and in a tour I wondered how it would translate in college and regional theatres since it is quite demanding of the set and stage management crew. Miami’s technical skills exceed expectations. Bravo. 

Get Tickets to The Play That Goes Wrong

Contact Miami’s Box Office today! If you cannot catch Miami’s production (running through April 30 at 2 pm), then you must catch one of the performances coming to a theatre near you for the 23-24 season–NKU (at the The Carnegie) and CSC are two more theatres producing this hysterically funny but technically challenging comedy in Spring 2024. I hope to catch them all, since everyone needs a belly-laugh at the end of the semester.

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