An Olivier Award winner for Best New Comedy, The Play That Goes Wrong is a celebration of the best of live theatre… and the worst. Welcome to opening night of the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’s newest production, The Murder at Haversham Manor. While things quickly go wrong in this 1920s whodunit show-within-a-show, theatregoers are in for an uproariously good time.
Broadway Inbound got to sit down with two of the “actors” from the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society, Max and Sandra, and chat about what it’s been like bringing the show across the pond to the Great White Way.
BI: What has the experience been like bringing the show from the West End to Broadway?
Max: Oh it’s been quite brilliant. In a way Broadway is further West, so it’s like the West End, but just... more.
Sandra: Well, it was difficult getting the set through customs. Robert was meant to organize it but used our baggage allowances for his hairdryers and collection of ceramic lobsters.
BI: Has anything “gone wrong” in the show that wasn’t intentional?
Sandra: All the time. Robert forgets his lines and Dennis can’t speak half the time. I’m working with amateurs.
Max: Often, although if you ask Chris I don't think anything is meant to 'Go Wrong'
BI: What do you like to do around New York City when you’re not rehearsing/performing?
Max: I like to go the parks and play chess with the locals, I've made friends with an older man named Jeff, he's teaching me how to play.
Sandra: I walk through Midtown dressed as Elphaba, singing “Defining Gravitas.” I’m hoping that someone from the show-business will notice me and I’ll be asked to play her on Broadway. So far lots of people have asked for a photo with me, but then they hand me a couple of dollars and leave… perhaps I’m standing in the wrong places…
BI: Any feelings of being homesick?
Max: I've never been sick in my house, so no?
Sandra: My home is on stage, so no. Unless include the fact that I’m also at home in front of a camera, in which case, I’m very homesick. I’m hoping this exposure will change that.
BI: Did you have any expectations of New York City before you arrived for the first time? Did they live up to your expectations?
Max: Yes. I thought it would be like York, but newer and it isn't, it’s just taller and I don't think that counts, but I love it here.
BI: Do you have a favorite place to eat in New York? Was there a favorite dish back home that you were able to find here?
Sandra: I like to eat at Sardi’s, so that I can meet the stars and have them recognize me as a kindred spirit. Although I’ve been told I’m not allowed to dine there anymore because I’m ‘too obtrusive’ whatever that means… I desperately miss afternoon tea.
Max: I love bread. They have that here too.
BI: Do any of the cast members have a pre-show ritual?
Max: Yes. Chris likes to relax in a jacuzzi, but we don't have one at the theatre so he sits in the sink in his dressing room and makes bubbles with a straw. He says its relaxing but it looks very stressful.
BI: Is there a current Broadway show that you’re longing to see?
Sandra: Kinky Boots. I don’t know much about it but I’m pretty sure I’d make a good Lola.
BI: What advice would you give to a tourist coming to New York to make sure that their visit doesn’t go wrong?
Sandra: Tips mean giving people extra cash for their hard work. It doesn’t go down well if you just give them advice on how to be a star.
Max: Stay on the opposite side of the road that you think you should be looking at, because the they do it the opposite way round here. So, if you're looking the way that’s not the opposite to the way you think you should be looking, look the opposite way.
BI: Any final thoughts?
Sandra: If you’re not famous, I’m not interested.
A big thank you to Dave Hearn and Charlie Russell for letting us interview their characters, Max and Sandra. The Play That Goes Wrong just released a new block of tickets through December 31.
Photograph by Jeremy Daniel