The Play That Goes Wrong

MCT offers hilarious introduction to spring, March 7-17

On Stage

The Missoula Community Theatre presents “a non-stop roller coaster ride” with The Play That Goes Wrong (TPTGW), — the 2023-2024 season’s only non-musical (or ‘straight play’) production, March 7-17 at the MCT Center for the Performing Arts. The show is rated PG-Parental Guidance Suggested.

A winner of London’s Olivier Award for Best New Comedy in 2015 from the producers of Avenue Q, this play within a play gives the audience an appreciation for what ‘could’ go wrong when everything, truly everything, goes off the rails. Set in the 1920s on the opening night of The Murder at Haversham Manor, the cast of players fumbles through two hours of unexpected disaster along the lines of the Three Stooges brand of comedic mayhem.

The show’s director, Sarah Walker Thornton, brings a wealth of acting and directing experience, including The 39 Steps (another fast-paced physical comedy) when she was the artistic director at the Cloverdale Playhouse in Montgomery, Ala.

“I’ve worked on several shows like this requiring elements like stage combat, physical gags, and more –- but TPTGW is, far by, the most extreme sports show I’ve done,” Thornton says. “It’s a non-stop roller coaster ride that just starts at the top and doesn’t slow down until the curtain drops.”

Thornton calls the ensemble cast — several whom are new to the MCT stage — “fearless and creative and hilarious!”

“It’s a director’s dream,” he says. “The story calls for some ridiculous stuff, and sometimes potentially dangerous things catching fire or falling down. And, thankfully, the trust is there to commit to the moment.”

Since the show is a play within a play, there are MCT crew working behind the scenes of The Play That Goes Wrong and Cornley Drama Society (CDS) crew working behind the scenes of The Murder at Haversham Manor; the “CDS crew” are really cast members, often seen onstage trying desperately to get their play to go right — and sometimes they must get very involved!

Choosing this production in the March timeslot was no coincidence for MCT. People are ready for sunshine and belly laughs. Lots of them.

Thornton sums it up: “We have a quote from the great Frank Oz hanging on the wall in the rehearsal hall that says, ‘If you don’t make a fool of yourself, you’ll make a fool of yourself.’ I think that sums up the bravery and comedy chops needed for this show to go well.”

The Play That Goes Wrong is sponsored by US Bank. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays and 2 and 6:30 p.m. Sundays, Mar 8-17, with Preview Night March 7.

Tickets are on sale now at and 406-728-7529 from noon-5 p.m. weekdays. A content advisory about this PG-Parental Guidance Suggested production is on MCT’s website.