Not out of laughs


Drama doesn’t have to mean serious, comedy doesn’t have to mean stand-up… we take a look at some comedy-dramas coming to our theatre this season.

It probably started as a bit of mischief… Mischief Theatre that is, the creators of the all-conquering The Play That Goes Wrong. The comedy that started as a very small scale production by a group of drama school graduates, performed in a room over a pub, grew into an Olivier Award-winning, West End conquering phenomenon. They followed it up with the equally successful Peter Pan Goes Wrong (televised over Christmas) and The Comedy About A Bank Robbery.

Now, Mischief’s first success, The Play That Goes Wrong, is once again touring the UK (it’s also heading to Broadway) giving audiences the chance to laugh themselves silly all over again. It’s with us in August, but you don’t have to wait until then for a funny night out at the theatre. Inspired by Mischief Theatre’s success (and also that of plays like the National Theatre’s One Man, Two Guv’nors, producers are showing more interest in comedy-drama, meaning we have some very funny things to offer you in the coming months.

First up is Out Of Order, which comes to us at the end of March. This is a tale of confusion and misbehaviour in the corridors of power (surely not! ), which begins when a junior government minister begins a relationship with a young lady working for the Opposition… The play, which is written and directed by Ray Cooney, ‘the king of comedy’ was first performed under the title Whose Wife Is It Anyway? before being revived under its current name in 1990. This revival will star Shaun Williamson, best known for playing Barry in EastEnders, but who recently showed off his comedy chops during a guest appearance in our Marlowe 5 Gala Performance. He’ll be joined by Susie Amy (Footballers’ Wives) and Sue Holderness (Only Fools And Horses, Green Green Grass).

As if this wasn’t enough, we’ll also be bringing you Don’t Dress For Dinner, a side-splitting comedy of duplicity, which stars Marlowe pantomime favourite Ben Roddy – not as ‘a fat bloke in a dress’ as we’re used to seeing him, but in his ‘day job’ as a proper actor. He’s taking on the lead role of  Bernard, who is looking forward to a weekend with his Parisian mistress while his wife is away (men behaving badly is a theme of comedy drama). He’s invited his best friend along as an alibi. What could possibly go wrong? Well, pretty much everything, which is of course where the fun begins…

So if you need a laugh in these troubled times, you know where we are…

 Out Of Order: Monday 27 March to Saturday 1 April. Book here.

Don’t Dress For Dinner: Monday 8 & Tuesday 9 May. Book here.

The Play That Goes Wrong: Monday 31 July to Saturday 5 August. Book here.

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