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Groan Ups

January 31st - February 5th


Something a little different from the creators of The Play That Goes Wrong…

Following their phenomenal rise to global success with The Play That Goes Wrong, The Comedy About a Bank Robbery and Peter Pan Goes Wrong, multi award-winning Mischief Theatre return on tour with their brand new comedy all about growing up.

Do we choose who we become? Is the story of our lives already written?

Do we ever really grow up?

Follow an unruly classroom of six year olds on their journey through anarchic high school teenagers to the challenges of adulthood.

Bag your tickets early. This is a lesson not to be skipped!

Age recommendation 12+

Running Time: approximately 2 hours 20 minutes, including interval.

★★★★ “Comedy Perfection… An auditorium of all ages nearly choked themselves to death laughing” Daily Mail
★★★★ “A very funny farce. There’s no resisting gags of this calibre.” Sunday Times
★★★★ “Utter Joy. Top of the class” WhatsOnStage



Please note: all images feature the original 2019 West End cast.


January 31st
February 5th
Event Categories:
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Festival Theatre
Grange Road
Malvern, WR14 3HB


Mon to Thurs Eve & Sat Mat: £36.96, £34.72, £32.48, £30.24, £28
Wed Mat: £34.72, £32.48, £30.24, £28, £25.76
Fri & Sat Eves: £39.20, £36.96, £34.72, £32.48, £30.24
Concessions and members discounts apply
Under 26s £16.80
Prices include 12% booking fee
Show Times:
Monday 31st January - Saturday 5th February
Evenings at 7.30pm
Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm

Event Reviews

  • Ken

    Having seen The Play That Goes Wrong this had a lot to live up to. Boy did it ever. Amazing actors and so so funny from the off till the very end...........fantastic !!!!

  • Bryan

    After watching The Play that Goes Wrong and other such as Peter Pan from Mischief Theatre, we were expecting much of the same but Groan Ups is rather different.
    A comment on current social situations, this performance takes you through a series of stages of development and whilst funny in places, the play also hits home with a few home truths. Helpful you might think but when we were expecting a laugh a minute extravaganza sorry to say that this fell short of the mark.
    The actors were well versed in their roles and the various sizes of set gave a good impression of the stages of growth but we were left feeling short changes as voices didn’t fill the stage and experiences were left wanting.
    Worth seeing but only if you fully understand what the theme is beforehand.

  • The View From The Stalls

    If you have seen any of Mischief Theatre's productions (The Play That Goes Wrong and its variants on stage or TV), you know you are in for a treat and a show of finely-crafted mayhem.

    Groan Ups is their latest offering and in a sense goes back to basics or at least, goes back to school. All the way back to a 1990's primary school in fact as the 5 actors start the show with a hilarious rendition of what every teacher must dread - "what we did at the weekend". The kids, very perceptively portrayed, reveal in all innocence and in graphic detail, what they got up to and what their parents said, much of it rather inappropriate for a school assembly! The action then moves to the chaotic classroom where their individual characters begin to take shape and where the subtle politics of schoolkids begins to take shape and natural winners and losers emerge. And, of course, at that age, they can say and do pretty much anything and get away with it - they are obviously all such darlings! At the bottom of the pecking order is poor downtrodden Simon - brilliantly played by Matt Cavendish - but maybe he will surpass himself in years to come. All this is done in a totally believable fashion as the enormous furniture make the actors seem as small as they need to be and there are references made to the time period (for example, Opal Fruits ("made to make your mouth water"!) have become Starburst…)

    Move on a few years and the children are now teenagers with all that that implies. Hormones have kicked in and relationships formed, boobs and pubes are discussed. Mocn (Yolanda Ovide) is obviously a force to be reckoned with and Spender (Dharmesh Patel) really needs to keep away from that hamster cage, a theme which repeats itself with hilarious consequences right up to the end of the show. Meanwhile Katie and Archie (Lauren Samuels and Daniel Abbott) seem to be getting along fine together but you already get the impression that Archie's feelings lie elsewhere….

    In the second half, the actors are now their adult selves, attending a class of 2004 school reunion and it is here that we learn that, in spite of what he claims, poor Simon is still the runt of the litter. But it does give us a chance to see one of the funniest characters in the show - the absolutely dreadful but hilarious "Chemise" (Jamie Birkett), ostensibly now Simon's glamourous wife, and who, for someone who claims to be French, has a very strong Geordie accent! The final character is Paul (Killian Macardle), who spends most of his time trying to convince the others that they do really know him and playing a walrus (!). Both Jamie and Killian also play a husband and wife pair of teachers, who prove that it is not only the kids who can say inappropriate things to the school assembly!

    Secrets and lies abound in this part of the show and it goes to some dark and sad places whilst not forgetting that it is still a comedy. The entire company does well in convincingly portraying the innocence and unintended nastiness of children which is carried through to some extent into adulthood, where the choices of how they act are far more a decision they explicitly make.

    This is a very, very funny show and in truth, you barely have to suspend belief that these young schoolkids are really being played by adults, so well and enthusiastically do they do it. All you have to do is remember what you were like when you were their age… Ah, the innocence of youth!

  • David Chapman

    THE past, it is said, is a foreign country. It can also be very familiar territory.
    Do any of us really grow beyond the children we were, or is childhood merely a dress rehearsal for the main attraction?
    This is the premise of Groan Ups, an ultimately engaging piece of theatre from the three imaginative minds which brought the hugely successful The Play That Goes Wrong to the stage. However, this is less about theatrical mishaps and slapstick, more about observation and the portrayal of lives that don’t quite go according to plan... or do they?
    Part farce, part comedy drama, it explores the relationships of five school friends in three stages of their lives: from six year-olds in a classroom filled with oversized furniture, to sexually aware adolescents and finally, guests at an explosive school reunion.
    The characters are, of necessity, stereotypes: privileged princess Moon, (Yolanda Ovide); angst-ridden Archie (Daniel Abbott); class clown and accidental hamster killer Spencer (Dharmesh Patel); forever the outsider Simon (Matt Cavendish) and high achiever Katie (Lauren Samuels).
    That said, as in football parlance, this is definitely a play of two halves. The first is noisy and shouty and at times hovers on the border of toe-curling embarrassment, but this is merely a device to make sense of the greater part of the drama that ensues.
    Sadly, some of the first night audience didn’t stay the course beyond the interval and the loss was all theirs. They missed out on tension, revelation, side-splitting laughter, misplaced reunion guest Paul (Killian MacCardle), the play’s secret weapon, dense but shapely Chemise (Jamie Birkett) and the joy that is leaving a theatre on a high.
    If you are looking for a tonic to beat the winter blues, then this could be it!

  • Rebecca

    After a very long two years, live entertainment is back and did not disappoint. Groan Ups is laugh out loud funny and brought back many memories of a life gone by...... thoroughly recommended......

  • Adrien

    If you were to walk into this show expecting the endless bouncy comedy of the play that goes wrong, you would walk out happy, but deeply mistaken. That is the first key detail you should know before seeing this show.
    Groan ups is a perfect analysis of the human life- from childhood to adolescent in act one, and rounding it off neatly at the end with adulthood for the second half, and that formula only adds to the charm and realism, which are the key attractions while watching.
    For starters, the youth of the play are portrayed with impeccable accuracy to reality by the cast. The body language full of fidgeting and the speaking like a loud mumble was beyond realistic and It really took me back to the years where every little action was the be all and end all of my life. Groan ups really prides itself on consistency to the real world- wether it be the accuracy of the height between actors and their props to the dialogue they speak and how it is spoken. This section of the performance is also, unbeknownst to the audience, where the heavy foreshadowing begins. Yes, the beauty of this show is not only how it’s self aware of what it’s portraying, but how it also carries the realism of how people grow through it.
    Teenage years was where the show lost me a little- but the rest of the audience were having a blast just as much as in the cast’s childhood. This is most likely to do with my having a strange teenage experience: where social standing wasn’t exactly a topic I was knowledgeable in and sticking with the cool kids was a waste of my time. Still, whenever I understood the jokes being made, they were genius and just as true-full as the first part. However, this is where I, and potentially some other members of the audience, started to feel emotionally called out by the show. It is self aware to a point where it’s reality merges with our own- so if you were a bully in senior school, or felt like you could never fully be yourself, or even if you were bullied: you are going to feel a flood of feelings come back to you before you can even look at the interval ice cream. (Which was also brilliant in quality.)
    Act 2 was where I rejoined the light hearted tone and joyous mood of the play. As adults, every character had either fully for-filled my expectations of their lives or had shattered them entirely, only for both points to swap mid way through the act. This is where the classic Mischief theatre tricks come back, and all the avid lovers of the goes wrong series recognise their type of humour and rejoice in recognition. A classically ‘goes wrong’ character we get introduced to in this act is ‘Shirt.’ If you know the show, you understand this fully, if not then that will lead me onto my next paragraph seen bellow. This act ties every loose end there ever was set up within the show brilliantly and is jam packed with humour and light heartedness right up until the very last moments, where the audience instantly get thrown back into their behaviour as children, but this time they’re a good 20 years older. It proves how everyone is identical to their previous selves in every way, and justifies the phrase, ‘Adults are just big children.’ It is an emotional, Ernest and energetic final section and if nothing else, it made me laugh and spend the trip back questioning where my life would lead and what I would do, as well as what success really was and where a healthy place to put my dreams would be. Any show that can do that to a person I think is spectacular.
    You should see this show when it is next on- that is just an objective fact at this point. If you like mischief theatre or would like some funny nostalgia to reflect on your life with that will hit you in the gut after making you laugh until you cry, you need groan ups as a memory in your life. Every actor was perfect for their role, (though I should mention as I was watching I could absolutely tell who in the original mischief theatre cast would play which role, but that was more fun to spot than was a distraction.) the prop design is genius, the foreshadowing is top of the class and I never knew I could laugh so hard at the same joke the 4th time over with only tweaks in delivery to change the perception. The songs used to represent the ages were also clever and catchy. This is a must watch in my opinion, and is definitely worthy of the 5 stars listed.

  • Barbara

    Disappointing. I took my family for, what I thought would be, a guaranteed fun evening but I think Mischief Theatre should have stuck with their original and very successful format. The over acting was wooden (with the ironic exception of the wonderful hired girlfriend, who saved the show for a while) ...the best laugh was when the door would not slam, which was unintentional but one could feel the relief as the audience relaxed a little. The second act was marginally better but spoiled by an overlong and cringe worthy ending. Perhaps at least some of the core actors would have improved the situation. So sad to write such a negative review about such a talented and usually very funny team. Stay with what you do best Mischief... please!

  • David

    Thoroughly enjoyable farce which everyone can relate to from their early school days. The energy of the actors and the speed of the quips require attention which means the time flies by far too quickly. Very cleverly done to see how as adults, they still retain the same personalities as children which we see in our old school friends. One note regarding the review by 'Barbara' - I think you missed the point with a lot of the humour and as regards the 'door that wouldn't slam' - it wasn't unintentional, the door had a soft closer arm on it which schools have, so much as the person wanted to slam the door in temper - they couldn't...... that was the gag and if you missed that, then I would assume that most of it went way over your head too. If you think you have some ability to gauge the audience then I wish you had been there on the night I was - they loved it and lifted the roof with laughter.

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