The Art of Making Something Go Wrong, Look So Right

People often state that whenever someone makes something look easy, it’s often much, much harder than it looks. Truth is, the individual has found a way to refine their skill to such a level of expertise, it now looks seamless and effortless. The same could be said for the critically acclaimed production “The Play That Goes Wrong”, which will soon be arriving to impress Perth audiences.

As background context, this production was first performed in a London pub. Literally. Globally, it has now been hailed in media outlets as ‘the little play that could’, an ode to its humble beginnings but enviable journey. The play has been brought to Australia by the Olivier Award-Winning British production company Mischief Theatre and has also made its Broadway debut with an alternate ensemble in April this year.

The reviews are in, and no matter where you see this play, the results are congruent – Laughter, and lots of it.

Sitting down to chat with one of the cast members from the Australian Tour, Luke Joslin [playing Robert], I was reminded of the level of professionalism required to make ‘something go wrong’, turn out so right. 

Luke Joslin

The play’s story-line surrounds an amateur theatre company [the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society], and the things that go wrong on the opening night of their Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery production. Whilst their production is amateur, the real production company behind this powerhouse play is quite the opposite.

In fact, as Luke explains, the British production company stood by their high standards and were adamant no compromises were made, to provide a lesser viewing experience in Australia than the British counterpart.

One example includes the method by which the casting process was managed. As a standard industry norm, actors often experience various auditions and call backs. This production, however, called for something a little different. Given stringent standards, a shortlisted number of actors were originally called in, and over a series of 3 or more days consisting of long hours, various tasks and through pseudo ‘knock-out rounds’, the pool was made smaller and smaller, revealing the remaining final cast. I.e. the lucky ones.

When I remarked on the level of exertion this would have placed on actors, and what Luke’s response to this was, it was all very simple: Passion. It was his passion for his craft, and the desire to be involved in the production, which made it all worthwhile. On a deeper note, Luke remarked of “the audience’s need to laugh, given the times of the world at current” and that this sentiment pushed him forward.

Whilst Luke’s resume is no doubt exemplary [The Seekers, Georgie Girl, Machu Picchu], he does remark that a special level of skill is required to perform his role in this play powerfully. In fact while “so many things in this play go wrong”, his role is unique in that “it is one of the most risky”, involving many things that could actually go wrong in the actual production, accidentally.

The Australian Cast. Photography by Jeff Busby

It’s aspects as that, which increase my level of appreciation and recognition for the cast and production house of this play, and their ability to finesse elements of their craft, such that they remain balanced, yet appear outrageous.

Once again, making something go wrong, requires a lot of things to go right.

And as global reviews state, audiences are clearly loving it.

As a final note, I asked Luke what he most loved about the play, and what he hoped Australian audiences took away from it. His answer was simple: “It’s about the exchange of energy”. As Luke elaborated, he stated that the world today needs to laugh, and the people who make them laugh, need to experience the joy of those laughing.

‘The Play that Goes Wrong’, will grace Perth audiences at His Majesty’s Theatre from May 31st to June 11th. For more information and ticket sales, please visit their website

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About Roma Christian

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With her hands often in numerous projects at once, Roma maintains a level-head with copious amounts of green tea & Seinfeld reruns. A strong penchant for writing about the human condition, she loves discussing human psychology, and uncovering magic found in the ordinary events of Life. Instagram: @roma.ireen.christian