"The Play That Goes Wrong" By Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer & Henry Shields - The Majestic Theatre (West Springfield, MA.) - REVIEW

(Cover Photo: The CAST of "THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG" by Henry LewisJonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, now playing at the Majestic Theater in West SpringfieldMA. through June 2, 2024. Photo Credit Kait Rankins)


By Kevin T. Baldwin

METRMAG Reviewer

# 774-242-6724

Lovely. That’s a damn fine bottle Perkins, what’s the vintage?" 

"Flammable and corrosive, sir."  

     - ("Robert" and "Dennis") / Henry LewisJonathan Sayer and Henry Shields

The Majestic Theater 

Presents the Hysterical Comedy 


By Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer & Henry Shields

Director and Production Stage Manager Stephen Petit

Producing Director Danny Eaton

Cast Includes: Jack Grigoli as "Chris," Scott Renzoni as "Max," Shaun O’Keefe as "Robert," Elizabeth Pietrangelo as "Sandra," Josh Karam as "Dennis," Mariko Iwasa as "Annie," Liv Cunha as "Trevor," Weston Pytel as "Jonathan" (u/s Chris/Robert), Michael DeVito (u/s "Max/Dennis/Jonathan"), Caelie Scott Flanagan (u/s "Sandra/Annie/Trevor").

Additional Creative Team:

Associate Producing Director Sue Dziura; Assistant Director and Associate Production Manager - Aurora Ferraro; Stage Manager - Hope Rose Kelly;  Set Designer - Peter Colao; Scenery Construction - Wooden Kiwi Productions; Lighting Designer - Daniel D. Rist; Costumer Designer - Dawn McKay; Scenic Charge Artist - Braith P. Dicker; Technical Director - Spencer Cohen; Master Electrician - Callum Doerner; Wardrobe Mistress - Christine Thompson; Armorer - Walter Mantani; Production Assistant - Miguel Perez; COVID Compliance Officer - Carol Rucinski; Photographer - Rick Teller. 

MAJESTIC THEATER, 131 Elm Street, West Springfield, MA 01089 


April 18, 2024 through June 2, 2024 

(Contact Box Office for Exact Times) 

Tickets can be purchased at the box office or by phone at # 413-747-7797.  



Contact Venue for Most Updated COVID-19 Safety Protocols and Information.

Concluding a superb theatre season where everything thus far has gone absolutely right, Majestic Theater presents "THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG" in which everything on stage uproariously goes awry. 

Make no mistake: This is a fabulously funny production and should not be messed....uh, mussed...er...missed. Right. Missed.

A word of caution for anyone planning to see this show:

This show consists of multiple "failures to launch" which involves sets, props and costumes that may be - either intentionally or unintentionally - "launched" in your general direction. 

This is a precision perfect production and, primarily for the actors' safety, it needs to be.

In "THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG" the Majestic Theater is invaded by the very British (-“sounding”) and very fictional "Cornley Drama Society." 

"Cornley" has brought to the unsuspecting folks of West Springfield a "dark and brooding drama" where a calamitous, nail-biting, bone-breaking and funny as hell "Murphy's Law" reigns supreme. 

In their undaunted conviction to present this piece, "Cornley Drama Society" prove they should have yielded to being daunted.

The two-act fall-down, slapstick farce is impeded by endless mishap after mishap…before the show even begins. 

The talented Majestic Theater cast perfectly carries out each and every aspect of the grueling physical comedy involved to the letter and never has a show that's supposed to look so wrong looked so good.

Out in the lobby, during intermission, someone on staff was overheard stating how good it was "to hear so much non-stop laughter" coming from the theatre - and they were absolutely correct in that the laughs are practically endless in this show.  

Written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, "THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG" opened on Broadway in 2017, having already previously won for Best New Comedy at the 2015 Laurence Olivier Awards

The melodramatic play-within-a-play, entitled “The Murder at Haversham Manor,” is a “serious” 1920s murder mystery and, during the performance, the cast and crew contend with non-functional set pieces, ill-prepared cast members, an incompetent crew and floors collapsing. 

What the "Cornley" cast and crew soon realize is that anything that can go wrong WILL GO WRONG. 

If any of the understudies have to go on for someone in this cast, please let their insurance be paid up.

As to that aspect (and on a more serious note): While this apex level of stuntman physical comedy is amazingly funny, SAFETY always (always, ALWAYS) must be taken into account for any group even considering staging such a physically and technically complex show as "THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG." 

Costume disasters, forgotten or ill-timed lines, falling down sets, missing props, miscues and knock-down, drag out fights between upstaging cast members…all those combative elements which may seem far-too-familiar for veterans of community theatre.

(Photo: The CAST of "THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG" now playing at the Majestic Theater in West SpringfieldMA. through June 2, 2024. (From l-r) Josh Karam, Jack Grigoli, Scott Renzoni, Elizabeth Pietrangelo and Weston Pytel. Photo Credit Kait Rankins)

In the fictional "THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG" making sure both the technical elements and precision comedy execution required for this show to succeed get equally accomplished. 

The actual Majestic Theater production is directed by Stephen Petit who has succeeded in this endeavor, expertly staging the “harmonized chaos.” 

The Majestic cast portraying the jinxed "Cornley" players is incredibly adept at the sheer volume of physical acrobatics.

The precisely timed out technical cues involved and every artistic element of the show is also deserving of high praise.

The wonderfully complex Majestic Theater set design of "Haversham Manor" is credited to Peter Colao and was constructed by Wooden Kiwi Productions out of Waltham, MA. 

The set for "THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG" is a mechanical marvel, maximizing the entire Majestic Theater space (and it needs to as it literally becomes one of the most important "characters" on stage). 

Similar to the show's literary 'cousin,' "Noises Off!," (by Michael Frayn) every technical element of "THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG" by Lewis, Sayer and Shields must be...and is..."blueprinted." 

Costumes, hair and make-up are all perfectly in keeping with the show's humor which comes exclusively from the tragically inept attempt by the "Cornley" players to provide an evening of suspense. 

The director of the show is Chris Bean (Jack Grigoli) who also portrays "Inspector Carter" in charge of the murder investigation at Haversham Manor. 

As the show advances (or retreats), both as "Carter" and director, Bean's level of competency will be called into question. 

Grigoli is an imposing figure as the long and lanky Bean, towering over some of the other actors as his character tries desperately to keep the "Cornley" show from running off the rails....and failing spectacularly. 

(Photo: The CAST of "THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG" by Henry LewisJonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, now playing at the Majestic Theater in West SpringfieldMA. through June 2, 2024. Photo Credit Kait Rankins)

In addition to Bean, the cast of the fictional "Cornley" ensemble includes: 

Jonathan (Weston Pytel) who plays victim "Charles Haversham." 

Even in "death," Charles is persistent in trying to re-emerge on stage and continues to get "victimized" as the show progresses. 

Pytel is simultaneously suave and comical in his portrayal of Charles, yielding many laughs throughout the show and eliciting one of the best bits of dialogue exhanges ever uttered by a supposed corpse. 

Dominating nearly every scene is actor Robert Grove (Shaun O’Keefe) in the role of murder suspect "Thomas Colleymore." 

Like most on stage, O’Keefe has many vigorously physical scenes but also has impeccable timing, knowing where every comedy "beat" takes place in the show's text. 

Denise Tyde (Josh Karam) plays faithful butler, "Perkins." 

Karam's performance combines panic with pity as the poorly prepared actor mispronounces or completely forgets the lines spoken by his character "Perkins."

(Photo: The CAST of "THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG" now playing at the Majestic Theater in West SpringfieldMA. through June 2, 2024. (From l-r) Josh Karam, Shaun O'Keefe, Mariko Iwasa and Jack Grigoli. Photo Credit Kait Rankins)

Sandra Wilkinson (Elizabeth Pietrangelo), is the actress playing sultry seductress and suspect "Florence Colleymore." 

Pietrangelo as "Florence" is disarming...that is, until Wilkinson is sidelined by an on stage accident. 

Wilkinson attempts to come back to the stage and finds "Cornley" Stage Crew member Annie (Mariko Iwasa) on stage wearing Wilkinson's costume and performing the lines of "Florence." 

Iwasa who, according to her bio, is in actuality a professional clown, is a comedic whirlwind, perfectly in tune with this character's required and intense comic physicality.

Portraying the dual roles of "Cecil Haversham" and "Arthur the Gardener" is the flamboyant actor Max Bennett (Scott Renzoni) who, with an impish smile and mischief in his soul, occasionally breaks both character and the fourth wall...much to the annoyance of his castmates.   

Renzoni 'mugs' incessantly to the audience (as scripted) and gives an inspired take as the impish Bennett, who is not safe from any of the nearly cataclysmic antics on stage. 

There are other incarnations of the show (most recently with "Peter Pan Goes Wrong" on Broadway which ended in July, 2023) and the "...Goes Wrong" series which can be seen in the US on Amazon Prime.

However, "THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG" surpasses them all, and the end of Act One in this production is undoubtedly one of the funniest ever written. 

Serving as "Cornley" lighting and sound technician for the show is Trevor Watson (Liv Cunha), who has an unsettling "Duran Duran" fetish (the pop group, not the "Barbarella" character). 

Cunha is quite funny as Trevor, whose anxiety capacity is clearly on overload. 

From its outrageous outset to its calamitous conclusion, everybody gets hilariously crucified from "THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG." 

(Photo: The CAST of "THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG" now playing at the Majestic Theater in West SpringfieldMA. through June 2, 2024. (From l-r) Mariko Iwasa, Shaun O'Keefe, Jack Grigoli and Josh Karam. Photo Credit Kait Rankins)

As a public service announcement: If anyone should happen to find a dog who responds to the name "Winston" and is carrying a "Duran Duran" CD in its mouth, please contact the "Cornley Drama Society" at once through the Majestic Theater.   

"THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG" continues in West Springfield until June 2, 2024. rounding out a thoroughly entertaining 26th season for the Majestic Theater.

Also announced at the opening night performance were the shows Majestic Theater patrons can look forward to during the 2024-2025 season which include:

"SHEAR MADNESS" by Paul Pörtner 

(September 5, 2024 through October 20, 2024)


(October 24, 2024 through December 1, 2024)


(January 9, 2025 through February 16, 2025)

"FENCES" by August Wilson 

(February 27, 2025 through April 6, 2025)


"WAITRESS THE MUSICAL" by Jessie Nelson with music & lyrics by Sara Bareilles

(April 17, 2025 through June 1, 2025)

For tickets and more information, contact the Majestic Theater box office by phone at # 413-747-7797 or visit www.majestictheater.com  


Approximately two hours with one intermission

Kevin T. Baldwin is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) 




It is opening night of the Cornley University Drama Society's newest production, "The Murder at Haversham Manor," and things are about to go from bad to utterly disastrous. 

An exasperated detective, a corpse who can't play dead, an unconscious leading lady and other embattled and eccentric characters must overcome technical issues, forgotten lines, and unreliable scenery in order to make it to the final curtain call. 

"THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG" is part Monty Python, part Marx Brothers, part Sherlock Holmes, and all mayhem! 

It has played to sold out audiences all over the world and now this smash-hit whodunit will mark a hilarious end to the season!   


Locally-produced professional live theater since 1997. Before it was a live theater, local residents may remember THE MAJESTIC THEATER as a movie house. It has since been renovated and reimagined to bring live performances to the West Springfield area, giving local performance and technical artists the opportunity to thrive. Every season at THE MAJESTIC consists of five productions (including at least one musical) featuring local actors. In addition to the subscription season, the summer includes children's theater, concerts, plays, open mic nights, and improvisational comedy shows. Recently named the best place to see live theater in the Pioneer Valley in the Valley Advocate Readers' Poll, THE MAJESTIC THEATER continues to offer great theater thanks to the support and generosity of its 4200+ subscribers.


131 Elm Street

West Springfield, MA 01089 

# 413-747-7797