Few things in life go exactly as planned. In The Play That Goes Wrong, many, many things don’t go right. And that’s what makes it so funny.
“I would say if you like to laugh, you should come. It’s that simple,” says Angela Grovey, one of the ensemble actors starring in The Play that Goes Wrong at Bass Concert Hall on October 23-28.
I have to be honest. Interviewing Grovey was a tad confusing for both of us. After all, it’s complicated when you’re talking to an actor about their role in a play within a play about things that go wrong, meaning the play is going right. You follow?
"It’s so confusing,” admits Grovey. “It will make so much sense when you see it."
She says the play, which is about a theater group putting on a murder mystery, has a bit of a Monty Python meets Carol Burnett Show feel, with an ample sampling of highly physical slapstick and cheeky British humor.
Grovey, a Houston native with family ties to Austin, knew she wanted to be in the production the first time she saw it in the Big Apple. "This play was the talk [of] New York City," she says. "People just loved the show and were seeing it multiple times. The first time I saw it, I was like, ‘I just spent two hours laughing and that’s great.'"
Grovey plays Annie, the stage manager in the play within the play. Annie is forced to do things outside her comfort zone when she must jump in as the lead.
Having never acted in a straight (non-musical) play, Grovey is thrilled to be part of the tight ensemble bringing joy to the masses. "The fact that we get to travel around this country making people laugh, I was like, 'Yeah, sign me up for that.'"
She says it’s been really enjoyable to try something different. "As an actor I feel like this is really stretching me in more ways than I thought, and I’m super stoked about that."
The stretching involves both creative and physical flexing. With the show being so physically demanding (making the actors prone to minor injuries), the cast must prioritize their physical care. "I’m definitely getting fewer bruises from when we started," Grovey jokes. "We’re out here for a year so we’re all trying to run this marathon and keep safe."
With punchlines or laughable visuals (many involving the elaborate set and numerous props) just about every 30 seconds, The Play that Goes Wrong offers a sweet escape, and reminds viewers that it’s often the things that go wrong that make the funniest and best memories. "People are surprised by how funny it is," says Grovey. "You will have a blast I promise!"
Tickets for the Austin run are available now. The Play that Goes Wrong will also make appearances in San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas in 2019. Please note that as of October 22, 2018, all attendees to Bass Concert Hall must carry their belongings in a clear plastic bag and be screened by metal detectors upon entrance into the theater. Get details and bag dimensions here.