They say that laughter is the best medicine, and after everything that we have been through over the last two years, we have been searching for laughter here, there, and everywhere to put a smile on our faces and distract us from the near constant barrage of bad news. Throughout 2020 and last year, theatre has been fighting against the odds to not only get back on stage but to keep us all entertained from the comfort of our own homes and when it comes to laughter, we have a lot to thank Mischief Theatre for. With their tv programmes, re-releases of their festive specials and their highly popular Mischief Movie Night In livestream improvisation series, this company has had us laughing until our sides hurt, and as we roll into 2022, they had even more to make us smile.
The Play That Goes Wrong and Magic Goes Wrong are up and running in the glittering West End, and Groan Ups, and Magic Goes Wrong are out on UK Tour so there is mischief popping up all over the place but if you prefer to get your giggles on at home, then Mischief Theatre are here for you too. Not only can you flick on over to BBC iPlayer to watch series 2 of the Goes Wrong Show or buy it on DVD along with series one and the festive specials, but this hilarious company has joined up with the Samaritans to get serious about silliness. Cast members Charlie Russell and Jonathan Sayer visited the Theatre Café to promote the Samaritans Brew Monday programme, encouraging people to open up and talk to each other and in order to raise money for this brilliant charity, one of the Mischief Movie Night in shows has been re-released online for people to experience again at the bargain price of just £7.50.
Performed and recorded back in January 2021, The Wizard of Paddington Station was one of the company’s improvised comedy shows they put together during the long winter lockdown based entirely on suggestions of audiences either watching on zoom or taking part via social media. Out of the run, it was perhaps one of the more family friendly shows, telling the story of a young girl called Petunia (Ellie Morris) trying to help her father (Harry Kershaw) to defeat a mystical wizard called Jasper Longlegs (Henry Lewis) and his train ticket sidekicks Elizabeth and Busby (Bryony Corrigan and Niall Ransome) from delaying all the trains and messing with HMRC. Add in the complication that she also has to save two children (played by Nancy Zamit and Josh Elliott) from being stuck as talking bins forever, and she has quite a mission on her hands. With the hilarity being managed by film lover Oscar (Jonathan Sayer), this made up on the spot comedy is laugh a minute from start to end.
The audience wanted to see a Disney movie, and the company provided with a story ‘The Wizard of Paddington Station’ full of magic, many a powerful hat, mischievous sidekicks, and plenty of music. It always amazes me how this company can make up such great stories right off the stop of their heads, with music made up on the spot by the musicians Richard Baker and Yshani Perinpanayagam. This show features such catchy tunes as ‘I love Trains’ (thank you Niall Ransome for that ear worm), which you can see on Mischief’s Instagram and tik tok, the barbershop quartet Half Wizard song and the incredible fast cockney knees-up style song ‘Beware of the Wizard’.
Ellie Morris’ magical Petunia is sweet and innocent (and anyone who saw a few movie nights would know that she is rather fond of that princess hoop hat) whilst Harry Kershaw’s father character perhaps was more concerned about his long-hated parking ticket over his daughter. Henry Lewis delights in the role of the baddie, wizard Jasper Longlegs, who doesn’t have evil plans in mind, he would rather just cause minor inconveniences for rail passengers whilst Niall Ransome and Bryony Corrigan display the most adorable chemistry in their friendship as two tickets who just want to go on adventures and not end up being thrown into the bin. Nancy Zamit and Josh Elliot are a comedy double act of dreams as the two talking bin sidekicks trying their hardest to keep Petunia safe.
Mischief Movie Night in is brilliant, hilarious and smile inducing, the perfect tonic to dark evenings and bad news days. This rare chance to watch one of their shows again is not to be missed and for the bargain price, with profits going to charity, it’s a great way to keep the family entertained for an hour or so. Here’s hoping for more new Mischief Movie Night In shows in the future, and/or for more of the past shows to be released to be enjoyed again.
You can purchase a 48 hour watching pass for The Wizard of Paddington Station here
Images found either via google or screenshots shared on social media