'To spread that kind of laugh is fantastic', for The Play That Goes Wrong cast member

Shaky sets, forgotten lines, and diva-like demands are all in a day's work for RADA-trained actress Catherine Dryden.

Tuesday, 7th August 2018, 3:38 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th August 2018, 3:43 pm
Catherine Dryden in The Play That Goes Wrong

But it’s OK, as she’s being paid to be a little bit rubbish as The Play That Goes Wrong opens at Blackpool Opera House tonight, until Saturday.

Catherine pays Annie, the hapless stage manager for the fictitious Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society - around which the comic farce revolves, as they stage their opening night of murder mystery play The Murder at Haversham Manor.

“There’s eight in the cast on stage, plus four understudies who act as assistant stage managers in terms of making things happen, the ‘real’ stage manager, and the rest of the crew, and the whole thing wouldn’t work if any one of the 17 of us on the tour wasn’t there,” she said.

The cast of The Play That Goes Wrong

“My character is the stage manager in the show, and I don’t think anyone would describe her a ‘God’... She’s not very good, but she does kind of save the day.”

And having trained at RADA, The Play That Goes Wrong is a real change in direction for Catherine.

“We did a little bit of clowning and restoration comedy, but it was completely different to this,” she said. “I got really heavy roles though, in my third year, which had me breaking down and crying - so it was a real relief to go into something light.

“It’s harder to make people laugh than cry, but this show is like choreography - the timing and connection between the company is something you can’t mess about with.

“No matter how many times we’ve been through these routines, it’s always the audience’s first time, in a way you have to forget all the rehearsals.

“The night before my audition, I went to see it. I’d read the script, but there are so many stage directions written in to it, that I wanted to actually see it for myself.

“I went with my mum and we were wetting ourselves laughing, I had never been to the theatre before where I found that I couldn’t stop watching the audience as they were in hysterics and having the best time - so it made me really determined to get they job, to go round spreading that kind of laughter would be a fantastic job.”