Five minutes into the second act, Andreas T Olsson, who plays 'the director', fell from the second floor on the set, as he is supposed to do in the play. But as he was getting up, he slipped on a piece of paper on stage and fell once again, injuring his back and bringing the rehearsal to a premature end.
“It happened for real, it’s completely true,” Cornelius Löfmark, who plays ‘Max’ in the Swedish production, told The Local.
“The audience didn’t realise. Our co-director went up on stage, and said, ‘we have a situation here, you have to go home’, and they just laughed and laughed. It was only when the curtain went down that they realised it was over.”
Olsson was released from hospital later that evening, and will be able to perform in the premiere on Friday, but he is still in some pain.
The Play That Goes Wrong, by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields of the UK’s Mischief Theatre Company, has been translated into more than 20 languages since it won Best New Comedy at the 2015 Laurence Olivier Awards.
The farce purports to be a 1920s murder mystery put on by the amateur theatre company, the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society.
“Everything that can go wrong… does!” the play’s British website declares. “The accident-prone thespians battle against all odds to make it through to their final curtain call, with hilarious consequences!”
The Malmö production's director and translator Sven Melander is promoting it in Sweden as “what would happen if Monty Python put on an Agatha Christie murder mystery”, and “a combination of Fawlty Towers and Papphammar [a Swedish 1980s comedy]”.
Löfmark said he had seen the play twice in London before discovering that he would take part in a production of it, and has seen it twice again since. He said that he expected it to go down well in Malmö.
“Especially in the south of Sweden, we have the same sense of humour as the Brits, and this play is extremely funny.”
He said he did not know Olsson saw the funny side of the injury, but confirmed that he would perform the risky stage fall once again during the opening night at Malmö’s Nöjesteatern by Folkets Park.