Mischief Theatre is a theatre company that was formed by former LAMDA students and started off as an improv company and has gone on to conquer the world of theatre. Their first scripted show, The Play That Goes Wrong, is currently the longest-running comedy on the West End and the longest-running play on Broadway. They have completed an Australian tour last year, are about to start a UK tour for the second year in a row and their plays have been performed on every continent besides Antarctica, for fear of a cold reception (their words, not mine). They have done three Christmas specials for the BBC, Christmas Goes Wrong on Radio 2 in 2016 and Peter Pan Goes Wrong, also 2016, and A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong in 2017, both for BBC One. Besides that, they have another two shows playing in the West End, The Comedy About a Bank Robbery, which will be touring the UK later this year, and Mischief Movie Night, in which the original members of the company improvises a movie based on the audience’s suggestions.
So, how did the company created this empire of comedy in such a short amount of time, as the company was founded in 2008 and their first West End show only opened in 2014. The main and most obvious reason is that the shows are a lot of fun, the audience is always laughing and enjoying themselves and, once the show is over, you want to go back and bring all of your friends to see it. This also means that it is a show for everyone, the humour is very family friendly and, especially in the ‘goes wrong’ shows, requires minimal thinking to be enjoyed.
Another reason is the commitment of each member of the company. Since I saw my first Mischief show in January 2015, Peter Pan Goes Wrong at the Apollo Theatre, the cast finished the run for that show, created, opened and starred in The Comedy About a Bank Robbery for a year, then went on to open The Play That Goes Wrong on Broadway for a six-month run, then came back to England to write and shoot A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong and is currently starring in Mischief Movie Night. To all this, you have to add all the work they put in to get their original play to the West End.
The most incredible thing about Mischief Theatre is the amount of love that they have for the work, and not just the ‘original’ members. A common thread you can see as more of their shows hit the road and more people need to be cast, is that a lot of the same people keep appearing in more than one show. On the one hand, it definitely has to do with the set of skills that are required for their very fast, very physical comedy, but it also means that people enjoy working on the shows enough to want to keep doing them. It’s probably just as funny for them as it is for the audience, which brings us back to the original reason behind their success: everyone has tons of fun.
BEST KNOWN FOR: The Play Goes Wrong, now touring the UK.
HOT RIGHT NOW: Mischief Movie Night, starring the original company in the West End.
COMING UP: The Comedy About A Bank Robbery, tours the UK later this year.
FOR HARDCORE FANS: Track down their Radio 2 Christmas Special, Christmas Goes Wrong, starring Matt Lucas.