The Goes Wrong Show is probably the funniest comedy the BBC has shown in years. Based on the theatrical monsters from the Mischief Theatre that have filled London's West End in recent years, including The Play That Goes Wrong by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields, Peter Pan Goes Wrong and Magic Goes Wrong, the show sees a fictitious amateur dramatics company with ideas well above their station put on a performance that… well, goes wrong. And keeps going wrong… but the show must go on – even if it shouldn't.
Broadcast on the BBC at the end of last year, running into this, after successful TV adaptations of Peter Pan Goes Wrong and Christmas Carol Goes Wrong, The Goes Wrong Show is critically acclaimed and remained a solid performer on the iPlayer and, during shutdown, the cast and crew broadcast cast commentaries on YouTube – which were almost as fun as the shows themselves.
And now it seems the rest of the world get to see the shows, as the series has been picked up by Amazon Prime. Previously seen on BroadwayHD, it now has a much larger international audience. And you get to see what happens when the set designers are given measurements in inches rather than centimetres, or misinterpret the title of one episode, 90 Degrees, as pertaining to the angle in which the set should be built. Or rely on a heavily criticised script by a writer who never did his research. While the cast have their own bitter insecurities, affairs and disdain for the director, which blossom out into making each show go… even wronger.
If you want to see what the Fawlty Towers of 2020 would look like, this is it – but funnier. It takes basic slapstick and turns it into an artform that surpasses the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd into something genuinely emotionally affecting and reflecting human complexity in its pratfalls – while also being very, very funny indeed. Here's the Amazon Prime trailer with Neil Patrick Harris as someone giving them some endorsements very poorly indeed – followed by some BBC trailers for the show…
The Goes Wrong Show will be available on Amazon Prime Video in the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia from this Saturday the 15th of August. The BBC has already commissioned a second season, which has been written and will be recorded once this pesky pandemic lets up. But for now, everyone else gets to enjoy what we Brits have been banging on about for ages.