Shortly after we moved to our current house, my son and I were looking for a show to watch late at night and found a show called The Goes Wrong Show on BritBox. We clicked on it and were, quite frankly, bewildered by it.
It was a group of about seven people acting out a play and completely messing up lines, tripping off props, and being all-out insanely weird.
We weren’t sure if these people were really messing up their plays or if they were pretending to mess up a play, or . . .what was going on.
We watched the first episode and laughed so hard that our sides hurt. Obviously, we eventually caught on that the whole show was meant to be a joke and that the actors were real actors playing fake actors on a show about actors.
Later we watched the episodes with The Husband and he laughed so hard I thought he was going to burst a blood vessel.
We watched the whole season and I have to say the Christmas episode was my favorite that first season. Flash forward to last year and we discovered this group — which we had since found out was called Mischief Theatre — had been featured in a special called A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong on the BBC.
Moving us up in the timeline to a couple of weeks ago and we arrive at the moment I suggested to Erin at Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs that we include A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong in our list of Christmas movies to watch for our ‘Tis The Season Cinema. Comedy is featuring heavily on our movie watching list over the next couple of months because Erin and I both need heartwarming and funny in our lives right now.
With A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong we are getting more than just funny but also pure ridiculousness.
For a little background on the actor troupe who takes part in this Christmas special, according to Wikipedia, “Mischief Theatre is a British theatre company founded in 2008 by a group of students from The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in West London, and directed by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields. The group originally began by doing improvised comedy shows, but by 2012 they expanded into comedic theatrical performances that include choreographed routines, jokes, and stunts.
The company is best known for its performances as the fictional theatre company, The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society, who attempt several amateur performances that comedically go wrong.”
If you look up Mischief Theatre online, as I did after we became hooked on their television show, you’ll see that the cast are very accomplished stage actors, some of them having won Olivier’s and other prestigious writing and acting awards. Most of their work, incidentally, is performed live and is often improv as they interact with the audience during their performances.
On the surface, the entire performance of any of their shows seems simple and fairly stupid but when you think about the talent needed to recite the lines of the original play they are putting on (in this case A Christmas Carol) while also having to pretend to mess up their lines and other aspects of the play, you realize what talent these actors actually have.
The fact they only have seven cast members playing all the parts and remembering all the lines and where the various pratfalls need to happen make it even more amazing. Then there is the focus they need to keep acting, even with the chaos going on around them.
There are also storylines going on between cast members behind the scenes that carry on throughout the various episodes and specials.
In this particular special, the comedy group has taken over the BBC’s production of A Christmas Carol by kidnapping and dragging out the main stars, including Derek Jacobi, a famous British actor. Actress Diana Rigg plays the narrator part of the time but literally has to “phone it in” because she is stuck in traffic.
Things, of course, go completely haywire and become even crazier when one of the actors believes he should be the lead actor and tries to knock out the director (Chris) to take over the lead as Scrooge. While trying to take out Chris, though, he injures other cast members or ends up destroying various sets.
Another pair of cast members are in a romantic relationship and things may, or may not, be on the rocks throughout the entire night, making the show even more entertaining. There is also a cast member who can’t remember any of his lines for most of the shows and in this one they think of a creative way to help him with that issue.
You can watch A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong in its entirety for free on YouTube:
Don’t blame me if you end up looking up their show and their production of Peter Pan Goes Wrong.
You can read up on Erin’s impression of this silly show on her blog.
Up next for our Christmas special features (the dates are when we are sharing our specials):
Nov. 24: White Christmas
Dec. 1: Muppets Christmas Carol
Dec. 8: Holiday Inn
Dec. 15: It’s A Wonderful Life
Dec. 22: Charlie Brown Christmas and Emmett Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas