The Show That Goes Wrong
29 May 2018
Events sometimes conspire to create a memorable show.
We were three scenes away from finishing an open-air production of Horrible Histories at Hampton Court Palace when the power went off which killed the sound and lights. Apparently the generator had run out of fuel. So my fellow actor Morgan Philpott and I carried on with no mics, no lighting and no sound effects to the end of the show. It turned out to be possibly the funniest performance I’ve ever been in. Morgan was amazing: “Loud sound effects happening here, actors losing their limbs and voices everywhere” – but we got through to the end, including an unaccompanied rap. I can’t imagine doing it without Morgan – he was absolutely hilarious. I normally plug our next production at the end of the show and found myself promising the audience it would be worth coming because the Apollo Theatre had a roof, sound and lighting. The audience completely went with it – they quickly realised they were watching a one-off and had a fab time.
When the power went off, the organisers at Hampton Court Palace expected to be dealing with a thousand refunds, but not one was requested. One family came up to us in the café to say it was like watching The Play That Goes Wrong for real. And as we headed for the dressing room we received impromptu applause in the car park. I wouldn’t have swapped it for the world. My only concern is that tomorrow’s performance will probably feel boring by comparison!
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