“The Play That Goes Wrong” Goes Extremely Right

Eastside Thespians’ last show of the year is disastrously hilarious


Murder! Adultery! A lost Duran Duran CD! On Wednesday night, the Eastside auditorium housed all of the dramatic twists and turns packed within the Eastside thespians’ newest production: The Play That Goes Wrong

Written by playwrights Jonathan Sayer, Henry Lewis, and Henry Shields, the Eastside theatre department has been preparing daily since March to bring this award-winning comedy to Eastside audiences. The play follows the fictitious Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society as they put on a performance of The Murder at Haversham Manor. What ensues during this play within a play is hilarious disaster after disaster – forgotten lines, misplaced props, and brawls between actors are just some of the mishaps that make up the belly-splitting gags of the show. 

The show opened on Wednesday, April 19th to overwhelmingly positive audience reception. 

“My favorite part was when it went so wrong. All they wanted to do was solve this murder but everything kept going so wrong!”, senior student Jackson Petty gushed.

Senior Rowa Nawari added, “The performances were so great and comedic. I thought it was unique in how certain actors took on different roles that are kinda opposite to their personalities, like [lead] Terry [Ford].”

(Left to right) Luke Seeley, Terry Ford, and Evan Daley share a suspenseful scene.

The Play That Goes Wrong is special for student director Early Whitaker, as this production is her directorial debut. Previously seen as Squidward in Spongebob: The Musical, she spoke on the differences of being on the other side of the curtain.

“I’m very passionate about theatre from all perspectives, and getting to see and understand why so many things happen the way that they do – things I’ve experienced as an actor, now being able to guide those and take on more creative authority has been really fascinating.”

Executive stage manager Lily Jefferson emphasized the seamless communication of the crew, even when faced with challenges. 

“We’re definitely a super close team, and we all listen to each other and we all have each other’s backs. It’s been a great experience. I’ve gotten so comfortable in our theatre and how it works.”

For many of the cast and crew, including Jefferson and Whitaker, this will be their final production as Eastside thespians. The seniors involved with the production expressed their pride in what they’ve accomplished these past four years as well as their bittersweet emotions of saying farewell to the high school stage. 

However, the future of the department is in good hands. Freshman Anna Niemann stars in the show and is being hailed by audiences as a stand-out performer. Speaking on being a newcomer to Eastside theater, she said:

 “Spongebob: The Musical was my first experience in theatre and I was in a really minor role, so being put into this big play with a bunch of super talented seniors, it felt really pressuring because I felt like I had to live up to high expectations,” she shared. “I definitely want to be able to follow in the footsteps of the really talented and awesome seniors who I look up to a lot, and I’m hoping that I’m able to continue in theatre because it is something that I really enjoy.”

Anna Niemann (in blue) is a comedic high point of the play.

With new theatre teacher Daniel Lytton taking the reins from Eastside’s beloved director Tammy Meyers, audiences can look forward to prosperous years of fresh and exciting stories brought to the stage. Whitaker assures that Eastside theatre will continue to embody the performing spirit she refers to as an ‘Eastside essence.’

“The ability to put on a fantastic performance no matter the circumstance – no matter if the set isn’t finished, no matter what’s going on backstage, no matter what’s going on with technical issues. Eastside thespians keep going and put on a performance that is going to amaze each other and amaze the audience every time. Our ingenuity is something that has always impressed me and always been very much at the heart of Eastside theatre.”

The Play That Goes Wrong runs from April 19th to April 22nd at 7 pm at the Eastside Auditorium, with a special matinee show at 2 pm on Saturday, April 22nd. Tickets can be purchased at eastsidethespians.com.