FRANCINE Cain’s love of comedy compelled her to audition for The Play That Goes Wrong, despite her WAAPA training in music theatre.
“We did a seven hour improv for the audition and once I went through that last round of improvisation I was in two minds,” Melbourne-based Cain said.
“If I didn’t get it then I just got the best free masterclass in improv and if I did get it, I was about to embark on the biggest learning curve of my life.”
The outcome was the latter and Cain went on to understudy the role of Sandra in the ‘play within a play’ performed by the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society, which returns to present Peter Pan Goes Wrong with many of the original Australian cast.
Cain reprises her role of Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society actress Sandra, who stars as Wendy Darling in JM Barrie’s classic novel, the foundation of this West End hit where actors battle technical hitches, flying mishaps and cast disagreements on their way to Neverland.
“This one is a little bit sillier and a lot more chaotic,” Cain said.
“What the production is about depends if you’re asking Sandra or me because it doesn’t ‘go wrong’ for her.
“The audience has no idea what’s going to happen next and even if it seems like it might be a predictable moment even that is funny, because you’re just waiting for that moment to happen.
Cain, who grew up in Brisbane and graduated from WAAPA in 2009, said she loved the opportunity to create a lot of the role of Sandra herself, which did not often happen in the world of musicals.
“I got so much creative licence with this role, to the point where my only basic direction was that she’s over the top, a scene stealer and to take any opportunity I could to show off Sandra’s chops,” she said.
“So I asked if I could make her a music theatre performer because I know that person; I’ve grown up with that person in musicals who overacts.
“The thing about Sandra is that she’s pretty good and she believes this show will be her big break in being discovered.
“Every night is opening night and I play it as if there are five agents she’s invited along, and she wants to show off her entire talent portfolio to them.”
Other cast members include Jay Laga’aia, Darcy Brown, Adam Dunn, Luke Joslin, George Kemp, Jordan Prosser, Tammy Weller, Connor Crawford and Teagan Wouters.
What: Peter Pan Goes Wrong
Where: His Majesty’s Theatre
When: Until March 17