Chandler thespians shine in new Limelight production - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Chandler thespians shine in new Limelight production

February 27th, 2023 SanTan Sun News
Chandler thespians shine in new Limelight production

By Katy Spring 

It’s a play that goes wrong in every sense of the word, but the mishaps, setbacks and mistakes come together to deliver high comedy in “The Play that Goes Wrong: High School Edition.”

Fresh off Broadway, the smash-hit farce is presented by Limelight Performing Arts in Gilbert.

With a cast of 13 teenagers, Limelight is the first theater in the state to present “The Play that Goes Wrong: High School Edition.” Performances are offered through March 5 at various times at Limelight’s Artspace Theatre in Gilbert.

“I wanted to participate in this show because I saw it on tour, and I don’t think I’ve ever laughed harder in my life!” said 19-year-old Kayla King of Chandler.

“When it was announced Limelight was doing it, I had to audition and be part of this hilarious show!”

She’s not the only one who thinks it’s funny.

Hailed as a “gut-busting hit” by the New York Times, “The Play that Goes Wrong” won an Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, snagged two Tony Awards and is the longest-running show in the 100-year history of London’s Old Red Lion Theatre.

A hybrid of Monty Python and Sherlock Holmes, this play-within-a-play follows a woefully misguided troupe of players during their opening night performance of “The Murder at Haversham Manor,” a 1920s murder mystery.

Forgotten lines, technical gaffes and set malfunctions all conspire to ruin the show, but cast members persist – and persist – in their quest to arrive at the final curtain call.

“Anyone who has done live theater knows that things rarely go as planned, so actors have to be ready at all times to improvise and keep the show moving forward,” said director Christian Graca.

“What’s so hilarious about the play is watching this troupe of woebegone actors persevere with their very serious murder mystery, even when literally everything goes wrong.”

Kayla was cast as Chris, who plays the role of Inspector Carter in the murder-mystery and simultaneously serves as the show’s director, set designer, costume designer, prop maker, box office manager, press and PR person and multiple other roles.

“Chris just wants the show to go well. Of course, that’s what makes it so funny when it doesn’t,” she explained.

“You can see her slowly becoming more and more panicked as the show goes on and the cast tries to salvage it, and it is hilarious.”

Indeed, “The Play that Goes Wrong” is full of physical comedy – like pratfalls, fist fights and falling props – and boasts a set that is second-to-none.

“The set is its own character in this production,” said Graca. “Built by Jorge Forero and Joe Woodward, it was created expressly to malfunction, upping the comedic value because if the set goes wrong, everything else goes wrong.”

The disasters snowball uncontrollably as the troupe presses on, desperate to get to the end of their murder-mystery production.

“I think audiences will love the fact that they’ll never really know what to expect,” said Kayla. “You never know what’s going to go wrong next, and I think that makes for an incredible, hilarious, truly entertaining show.”

As the saying goes, comedy is harder than drama, but Graca knows her performers have what it takes.

“These actors were off-book after only a couple of weeks of rehearsal,” she said. “That means they’ve spent the last month developing their characters, adding nuances, perfecting their line delivery and playing off each other.

“We have run all of the scenes in this show dozens of times, but I laugh so hard I cry at every single rehearsal.”

Tickets for “The Play that Goes Wrong” are $15 and can be purchased at

Presented by arrangement with Dramatists Play Service under license from Mischief Worldwide Ltd. The Mischief Production was originally produced on the West End Stage by Kenny Wax & Stage Presence and on Broadway by Kevin McCollum, J.J. Abrams, Kenny Wax & Stage Presence.