Mischief Theatre is a British theatre company founded in 2008 by a group of students from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. The company specializes in comedic productions.
They are best known for their ...Goes Wrong plays where the cast and crew try to put on a straightforward drama only for everything to go horribly wrong right in front of their audiences' eyes. The supposed plots are then almost completely forgotten as everyone tries to salvage the night with what little dignity they have left.
The company currently has the following projects in production:
- The Play That Goes Wrong: A murder mystery set at an isolated manor in the middle of a snowstorm. Hilarity ensues as the entire production crumbles in multiple ways.
- Peter Pan Goes Wrong: An attempt at putting on a Christmas pantomime of the classic tale. Hilarity ensues as the entire production crumbles in multiple ways.
- A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong: Mischief Theatre's first original made-for-TV production. A live version of the classic tale staring Derek Jacobi is invaded by the cast of the failed Peter Pan production. Hilarity ensues as the entire production crumbles in multiple ways.
- The Nativity Goes Wrong: Commissioned for Reading Rep. Theater in 2013, and follows the Christian Humanitarian Reading Initiative for Spiritual Theatre (or C.H.R.I.S.T., for short) as they perform the nativity story for Reading College. Hilarity ensues as the entire production crumbles in multiple ways.
- This play was adapted into a Cornley production for The Goes Wrong Show.
- The Comedy About A Bank Robbery : A caper about a diamond heist in 1958 Minneapolis. Hilarity ensues, but NOT because the production crumbles in multiple ways.
- The Goes Wrong Show: A BBC series in the vein of The Play That Goes Wrong and its sequels, debuted in December 2019. The CPDS is commissioned to televise a series of short plays. Hilarity ensues as each episode crumbles in multiple ways.
- Groan Ups: A comedic play that tracks five friends at three different points in their lives (childhood, adolescence, and adulthood). Hilarity ensues as the play examines how much and how little people change over the years.
- Magic Goes Wrong: Produced in collaboration with Penn & Teller, and follows a group of magicians trying to put on a charity show. Hilarity ensues as each trick crumbles in multiple ways.
- A spin-off show called Mind Mangler: Member of the Tragic Circle premiered at the Edinburgh Festival, with more focus on the eponymous mind reader.
- Mischief Movie Night: An Improv show where Oscar/Emmy takes audience suggestions for a potential title, genre, and location for a movie, along with awards it could've won and characters that could show up. Hilarity ensues as a team of improvised actors attempt to act it all out, with an in-house band improvising the score.
- During the COVID-19 lockdown, the group hosted Mischief Movie Night In from their "top secret comedy bunker" at Immersive LDN, where audiences could watch from home and some could participate via webcam to offer suggestions.
- Good Luck, Studio: A dark comedy that follows the cast and crew of an iconic kids TV show, Wibble the Dragon. It’s the last day of filming and the show is over budget, the cast is disinterested or incapable, and the crew needs to make sure no more accidents occur or they’d be sued. Hilarity ensues as the entire shoot crumbles in multiple ways.
Most of the company's productions involve a double layer of acting, with the ...Goes Wrong plays ostensibly being amateur productions being put on by the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society. The cast, therefore, play amateur actors playing parts within the play and each (fake) actor's personal foibles end up impacting the production, for better and for worse, and form an ongoing sub-plot across multiple productions. Tropes related to those alter-egos go here. (The Nativity Goes Wrong and Magic Goes Wrong are notable exceptions, as the C.H.R.I.S.T. initiative and the magicians are different characters from the CPDS, with their own histories and personalities. However, the former includes 2 characters from the CPDS, and in the latter, Sophisticato, The Mind Mangler, and Mickey bear a very strong resemblance to Chris, Robert, and Dennis, making them sort of alternate reality versions. The Comedy About A Bank Robbery is also an exception as it is more of a 'straight' absurdist comedy with little meta-humour or set-related chaos, and the actors simply occupy the characters in the play with no indication that they are also playing the CPDS.)
For an idea of what to expect, check out this snippet from the 2015 Royal Variety Performance.