Mischief Theatre Company's rags-to-riches tale of The Play That Goes Wrong(still going disastrously strong at the Duchess Theatre) is certainly a remarkable one. It's a tale that starts at humble beginnings in a space above the Old Red Lion pub in Angel and snowballs its way to the bright lights of Broadway. It's a shining example of word-of-mouth and sheer grit and determination to succeed. It's the scrappy underdog that has cemented its spot in a West End filled with long-running big budget musicals and in London, it's showing no signs of stopping. On Broadway, The Play That Goes Wrong will play its final performance at the Lyceum Theatre on January 6, 2019, after a hugely successful run of almost 2 years. That kind of lengthy engagement is relatively unheard of for a Broadway play and earns special recognition. Before the New York production faces its final curtain, we thought we'd give the two gifted actors, currently playing Chris Bean on either side of the Atlantic, the opportunity to take part in our "5 Questions from Over the Pond" feature.
The character of Chris Bean (who is in all too serious need of some anger management treatment) is the director of the fictitious Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society's misfiring production of Susie HK Brideswell's The Murder at Haversham Manor. Chris, who also stars in the 1920s murder mystery play, is struggling to keep it together on Opening Night as the play, the set and the cast literally and metaphoricallty fall apart at the seams. Everything goes wrong in the most unfortunately brilliant way!
The West End's current Chris is LAMDA graduate Patrick Warner, who has also toured with the show around the UK and internationally. He has appeared on the London stage in hits such as Posh and One Man, Two Guvnorsand ontelevision screens as Peter Cook in Netflix's smash hit series "The Crown".
Over in New York, West End star Mark Evans has come a long way (literally) from North Wales to make his Broadway debut as Chris - a role he's been playing since September 2017. He has toured the UK in productions such as Oklahoma! and The Rocky Horror Show and has wowed West End audiences with his stints in Wicked(as Fiyero) and Ghost the Musical(as Sam Wheat). Prior to his Broadwy debut, he also starred as Elder Price in The Book of Mormonall across the United States and is currently living the dream in New York City.
So, Ladies and Gentlemen... London Theatre and the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society proudly present "5 Questions from Over the Pond That Go Wrong"...
Check out Patrick's answers to 5 questions from Broadway star Mark:
1) What’s the most outrageous/memorable interaction you have experienced with an audience member during the 15 minute pre-show?
A group once came to the show in character as a rival amateur dramatic group and produced a ransom note threatening Winston’s very life in an attempt to sabotage our opening performance. It was pretty diabolical (picture below.) When Annie asked for a hammer someone then produced an inflatable one. Trevor showed it no mercy. My absolute favourite audience interaction though was while I was looking for the ledger one night on tour in a venue where the playing space was on a level with the front row of the audience, an exasperated/well-meaning punter said “oh for goodness’ sake,” strode onto the stage, pulled it out from beneath the chaise and handed it to me. That was a strong offer and had to be respected. Chris didn’t know whether to laugh or cry – plus ça change.
2) What is the worst thing that has actually gone wrong for you during a performance? - I get asked that question all the time so I’m intrigued if our answers would be similar.
Dennis once left the stage to fetch the stretcher poles to carry Max off and didn’t return for an appallingly long time. Robert filled the time by announcing “these cushions need plumping” and abandoning the action of the Murder at Haversham Manor to do some light housework. Dennis eventually returned empty handed, face slack and pale with dread and the two of them dragged Max out like a sandbag.
3) If Chris Bean was told to cast a celebrity in one of the roles in The Murder At Haversham Manor, who would it be and why?
I think it’s a bit of a silly question - The play already has a celebrity casting in that the director is deigning to grace the stage as the lead, Inspector Carter. Audiences should feel privileged to see the auteur at work.
4) If you were to experience a genuine show stop during a performance resulting in a long pause for technical reasons and needed to keep the audience entertained in character, what special skill might Chris showcase? We both know he has MANY talents!
Going by the evidence of our rehearsal improvs, I’d recite self-penned beat poetry and attempt an exotic dance. People were moved to tears, one way and another.
5) Do you ever get overwhelmed by Chris’ rage and want to slap the guy playing Max to let off some steam? No?! Just me?!
I get overwhelmed by the desire to smile! I look on Max with great envy every time the audience makes it clear that they... like... him...
5) That was a fake question so that a certain someone I share a dressing room with knows my true feelings. The real question 5 is; Can you please send me some Cadbury’s Dairy Milk? Thanks.
I’m so sorry you’re stuck with Hershey’s. We’ll see what we can do.