The Goes Wrong Show Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Members of the drama community at Cornley Polytechnic University each week in each episode play live in front of the audience sitting in the hall, a theatrical show on a specific theme.

Episode One – “The Spirit of Christmas”

Belle’s parents quarreled on Christmas Eve, after which the head of the family put on a coat and left the house. Now Belle sits on the couch and is sad. And even the visit of Santa Claus himself did not cheer her up, although Santa and his henchmen tried their best. Santa even brought the snowman to life for Belle to play with.

Series Two – “Pilot”

Drama about World War II. Rufus Heel is a dashing pilot who, after losing his leg, is forced to do office work, deciphering German codes at a top-secret Allied facility. He is assisted by a strict Englishwoman, Valerie Skye, and a French codebreaker, Camille. Commander Wickham supervises their work.

Series Three – “A Trial to See”

A harsh legal drama where the history of one crime is considered in court and the perpetrators are searched for.

Series Four – “Local”

Horror from the sixties. A certain Albert Fortenoy invites a young family to his old crumbling house. What lies behind the death of Albert’s late wife Vera? Who is that creepy vicar’s daughter playing in the street?

Episode Five – “Harper’s Medallion”

Costume drama from Victorian times. A story about family, duty, love and class inequality. The majestic old country house has a lot of challenges ahead, but the biggest challenge awaits a cat that gets stuck in a piano.

Episode Six – “Ninety Degrees”

A production of the classic play by Tennessee Williams. A tale of southern passion, irrepressible greed, and ninety-degree heat (in Fahrenheit, of course, so it’s not all that scary). But the scary thing is that the cameras had to be rotated 90 degrees, and not Fahrenheit!

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The Goes Wrong Show is a famous production by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields of the Mischief Theater Company. (All three, by the way, are graduates of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, with Henry Lewis now teaching there.) The play won the Laurence Olivier Award in 2015 for “Best New Comedy.” The play is still played in London, with this production the troupe went on tours in the UK, Australia and America, and also performed on Broadway, giving 745 performances.

In 2019, the BBC commissioned a TV series based on this production. The series features regular cast members from the theater group Mischief, which also includes writers of the play and script for the series, Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields. The series was directed by Martin Dennis, who was among the directors of the masterpiece “Black Bookstore” (in vain I did not write a full review of it), he also directed “The Vicar of Dibley”, “Friday Night Dinner”, “Love for Six” and many other series.

I would hardly have heard about this series at all (it has only one audience review on IMDB), but Tatyana Lazareva somehow recommended it on her Facebook. (There she also recommended the film “The Children’s Law”, which I also really liked.)

True, Tatyana for some reason advised me to start watching the series from the second series (the series is called “Pilot”, but this is not the pilot of the series, but the pilot-pilot), but I decided to start all the same from the first series, and I did not regret it at all – She’s wonderful too.

And when I started watching the first episode, I thought that this, apparently, is a kind of performance about a theatrical production, where for one reason or another everything goes wrong (here I immediately recall the wonderful old movie “Crazy Stage” with Michael Caine), but it turned out that everything here is much more fun than just a production where everything goes wrong. Because the authors of the script – Lewis, Sayer and Shields – are people not only with a great sense of humor, but also have a completely boundless imagination, because they do not copy their own ideas from one series to another, but for each series they come up with something fundamentally new .

In the first series, the actor playing Santa got drunk and began to cut the truth in the eyes of everyone, and the troupe also has a lot of problems with the props (there in some scenes, especially with the toy machine and the snowman, Bagel and I just laughed out loud); in the second series, excellent jokes with Rufus’s “missing” leg, the “Frenchwoman”, Commander Wycombe, who had to be played by a woman stairs, and most importantly – with a stupid telegraph; in the third series there was just a brilliant idea with the wrong sizes of the scenery (like the carpenters were given the dimensions in inches, and they thought it was centimeters) and there are homerically funny moments associated with this – in general, excellent fantasy did not betray them in any series , there were always some new chic finds.

And it should be noted that, purely technically, it was all very complex and varied, and it required very well-coordinated work not only of the actors, but also of the people who served these productions. At the same time, note that this is not an ordinary series where cutting scissors can be easily used, but they are like showing a live show, which looks exactly like a live show: the actors play their roles on stage in the presence of the audience in the hall.

The actors are – not surprisingly – completely unfamiliar to me, but the whole troupe is cool. And they play a variety of roles from series to series. Among the actors, Henry Lewis (on the cover of the poster I mistook him for James Corden), Henry Shields (he plays like the director of the Chris show and introduces each episode) and Jonathan Sayer (he has a completely inimitable smile) – in fact, these are the authors the show is. But the other actors and actresses are great too, and they’ve created very interesting and incredibly funny characters.

In general, I see no reason to talk further about this series, because it is absolutely wonderful, and I think that you should definitely watch it – well, at least try to watch it: after all, each person has his own sense of humor, to whom -something like this type of humor may simply not be liked, it happens. But try to watch at least the first episode: if it doesn’t work at all, as they say, then it’s not for you. And I’m just delighted: I didn’t even expect it to be so funny!

And, of course, I just have to warn you about the high expectations syndrome. So, I warn you about the high expectations syndrome. Everyone warned.

PS The series was renewed for a second season: there are also six episodes in the second season, not all of them have been released yet.

The Show Went Wrong / The Goes Wrong Show review

Director: Martin Dennis Cast: Henry Shields, Briony Corrigan, Charlie Russell, Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, Nancy Wallinger, Dave Hearn, Greg Tannahill, Chris Lisk, Ellie Morris

Series, UK, 2019, 29 min. Comedy, two seasons of six episodes

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