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Daniel Cech-Lucas - interview

Being the longest running comedy on the West End is quite the feat, and The Play That Goes Wrong continues to hold just that. As a group of clumsy thespians prepare to perform a 1920s murder mystery, audiences find out how this doesn't quite go to plan, leaving a disastrously hilarious outcome!

Daniel Cech-Lucas is part of the cast that are making history through laughs, and has spoken here about being part of the show, and what it means to him.


Could you tell us a bit about your role in The Play That Goes Wrong, and what your character's personality is like?

I play Chris who is the new director of a drama society putting on a play called The Murder at Haversham Manor. Chris is also in the murder mystery and plays the inspector.

It's safe to say there is a lot riding on the show for Chris, and he doesn't always handle the pressure very well. He tries to keep up a calm facade and I think he really believes he can save the show, but some pretty gaping cracks appear in his foundations as the show goes on.

It's currently helping me to picture Chris as some sort of grotesque creature that has taken human form, attempting to put on a play with everyone and not get noticed for what he really is, but in times of acute stress (of which there are many in this show) his true self breaks through.

What drew you to wanting to be part of the Mischief franchise, and why do you enjoy performing in the show?

Mischief have created some amazing work and it's a joy to get to play a part in this show, especially since it was the one that started it all.

I really enjoy Chris as a character, it's thrilling as an actor to play characters that are put into extreme situations and the whole show for everyone certainly is that.

It's also fantastic to be a part of such a great comedy piece. There's nothing quite like the instant relationship you have with the audience in a comedy. They really are the extra character in this show and it's brilliant to get to play off them.

What specific training and unique skills are required for being cast in this production, in comparison to other plays or comedy pieces on the West End?

Slightly surprisingly, I've found my singing training really useful for this show. There is a lot of shouting and it's been great to be able to access different parts of my voice to play those moments in a sustainable way.

How do you make sure to have a strong bond between each other to seamlessly perform the script, and can you share some of your favourite moments or funniest interactions from the show?

The nature of theatre lends itself to creating a cohesive company, but that said, this is a particularly lovely one. Also I think doing a show like this demands a high level of solidarity; there are a lot of moments where you're either setting up a joke for someone else or there's something that needs to be timed perfectly so nobody gets hurt. Everyone's very aware of that aspect of the show and really looks out for each other.

In terms of fave moments, there's a point in the show where I throw water in someone's face. There was one night quite early on in the run when, at that precise moment, they happened to have their mouth wide open and all the water went directly from my glass into their mouth. It was fantastic.

What is the most challenging aspect of performing in a play where everything is supposed to go wrong, and how do you maintain the comedic timing when it gets chaotic on stage?

I think stamina is probably the big one at the moment. We are 3 months in and all feeling comfortable with what we need to do, but it's such a high octane show that finding ways to sustain 8 shows a week is certainly a challenge, but a really great one.

And as I mentioned earlier, I think everyone is aware of what's at stake if we weren't to maintain that timing and make sure everything is executed effectively and safely. Even when things look chaotic on stage, we're all keeping aware of where everyone is and making sure everyone's ok, again a really enjoyable challenge, it feels like you're using extra bits of your brain.

Why is slapstick still so popular, and what makes the play so universally appealing to such a range of audiences?

It’s a genre that sits outside everything else, an opportunity for people to spend a couple of hours set apart from all the hustle and bustle of daily life. People also really enjoy humour that surprises them, jokes that they don't see coming, and slapstick is perfect for that.

What have you learned from working on this production that you will carry with you throughout your career?

I've learnt so much already, I don't think I can list it all. But one thing that's standing out at the moment is to always stay open and present to new ways of doing things. I think there's a desire to sort of solve the puzzle of a show and figure out exactly how to execute it nightly but, especially in a run as long as this one, one of the joys is that you have time for your performance to change and evolve throughout.


Big thanks to Daniel for telling us more about The Play That Goes Wrong, and why it's having such amazing ongoing successes. I hope you continue to have the best time in the show!

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Additional thanks to Freya Cowdry for coordinating this interview.


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