NICK Simpson-Deeks needs to be careful what he wishes for.
After a series of dramatic roles in film, television and theatre, the actor decided he needed to pursue a comedy and was soon cast in the Australian production of West End hit The Play That Goes Wrong.
“Now I’m exhausted and bruised and my back is sprained,” Melbourne-based Simpson Deeks said.
“It’s interesting that out of all the work I’ve done, that this absurd clowning experience is by far the most physically and vocally challenging; it’s incredibly rewarding.”
Having been described as Fawlty Towers meets Noises Off, the hilarious production follows Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society as they present 1920s murder mystery The Murder at Haversham Manor during which numerous theatrical disasters occur.
However the show continues through every stumble as the accident-prone actors soldier on, hoping the audience have not noticed.
Simpson-Deeks plays Chris Bean, Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society president and The Murder at Haversham Manor director who undertakes the role of Inspector Carter in the murder mystery.
“It’s the role inside the role and I think having worked in amateur theatre, which most of us in the cast have done, you know these people,” he said.
“These characters have been incredibly well observed and there’s a lot of heart; I don’t think this show in any way sets up to mock amateur theatre.”
Simpson-Deeks, who last performed in Perth in The Turning for Perth Theatre Company, said his parents were huge fans of British absurdism and slapstick, so he grew up watching a lot of Fawlty Towers and Monty Python.
“I think we all find pain incredibly funny when we have that little bit of distance,” he said.
“The success comes down to the writers finding these constantly surprising ways for things to go wrong.
“The play is exactly what it says in the title. You know what you’re coming to see, but I think what’s really funny and appealing to people is that one gag just tops the next and even when you think you know what’s coming, you rarely do.
“It’s incredibly precise and the set is like an extra character in the show. Our director told us early on to respect it fully but also not to be afraid to beat the hell out of it. It takes a beating and so do we.”
What: The Play That Goes Wrong
Where: His Majesty’s Theatre
When: May 31 to June 11