Childhood revisited in Mischief Theatre’s smash-hit Groan Ups comedy

Olivier award-winning comedy favourites, Mischief, have fast become a global phenomenon with their slapstick gags and fast paced shows.

Now the company is back on the road with a UK tour of its latest West End smash hit, Groan Ups, which is touring until March

Groan Ups is a comedy all about growing up. It follows an unruly classroom of six-year-olds as they journey through anarchic teenage life to adulthood and asks the real questions – do we choose who we become? Is the story of our lives already written? Do we ever really grow up?

Henry Lewis, co- writer and one of the founders of Mischief – who are behind the hilarious “Goes Wrong” TV and stage shows – explains.

He told Stage Review: “Groan Ups is indeed all about growing up. About how life becomes more complex. About how much – and sometimes how little – things change over time, and about how events in our youth can change our lives forever.

“But at its heart Groan Ups is a joyful comedy, finding its fun in the madness of childhood, the agonies of adolescence and all the ridiculous things we do when we all finally pretend to be adults.

“I truly love all things Goes Wrong. For me there is very little that is as joyful as those moments of pure clown.

“But in the Goes-Wrong world the actors are always speaking the lines of the play they’re in, and you rarely get to hear them speak as themselves.

“While you can discover a good deal about the characters of the actors in Goes Wrong from the decisions they make when things start to unravel, it’s difficult to tell these stories with these characters.

“So, we wanted to create a show that put character storylines at the centre of things and followed the intricate tale of a group of characters, while still delivering big laughs.

“We wrote the script over a few months, then developed it with Kirsty, our excellent director, and the original Mischief cast.

“We’ve done a few tweaks since the West End as well for the UK Tour. We always find the more you can refine something the sharper and funnier you can make it.

We made sure we gave the more heart-felt moments space to breathe in the show but also, we found that comedy and tragedy don’t always need to be compartmentalised.

“Some of my favourite moments in the show are where the two rub up against each other, funny lines said at heart-breaking moments and devastating lines spoken in a whirlwind of farce are extremely good fun.

“We each have one teacher’s name from our childhoods hidden in the script, and many of the situations are based on something similar to an experience we had growing up… although I never bellyflopped onto a hamster, I promise!”

Groan Ups stars Daniel Abbott, Jamie Birkett, Matt Cavendish, Killian Macardle, Yolanda Ovide, Dharmesh Patel and Lauren Samuels.

Written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, Groan Ups is directed by Kirsty Patrick Ward.

Remaining tour dates

Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, January 18-22

Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, January 24-29

Malvern Theatre, January 31 – February 5

Hall for Cornwall, Truro, February 7-12

Poole Lighthouse, February 14 -19

Congress Theatre, Eastbourne, February 21-26

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, February 28 – March 5.

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