‘Hello reception, someone has left a carrier bag of fruit and veg in our hotel room minibar. Is that all part of the package?’

A theatre trip to central London, a suite for the night in one of Covent Garden’s exquisite hotels and a fabulous meal of the finest food.

All this and more paired with an unexpected gift in the form of a bag of bruised peppers and asparagus, a stage set which falls apart and a rambunctious show of slapstick hilarity unfolding before you.

Nothing is quite as it seems on an evening out watching The Play That Goes Wrong. It is a marriage of the sublime and the ridiculous that you will rave about and leave you wanting more.

A night away in London

Who doesn’t love a trip to the West End to enjoy an evening of entertainment? Booked as a package deal with the Middle Eight hotel and just over an hour from Oxford on the train, the London theatre trip experience is the perfect getaway for a couple or family.

Middle Eight, on Great Queen Street, takes its name from the musical term, in honour of the site’s musical history, formerly a Methodist church dating back to 1912, which then became Kingsway Hall, an iconic music venue for the recording of classical and film music.

Each of the hotel’s 12 suites are named after pieces of music with a middle eight bridge.

Rocks was our venue for the evening and it did not disappoint.

Oxford Mail: Middle Eight hotel

The spacious room with its quirky pictures and memorabilia from The Rolling Stones, oozed with class and luxury – and had the additional bonus of a large outdoor private garden area.

The open-plan layout included a magnificent lounge area, beautiful free-standing bath, his and hers sinks and showers – and practically a his and hers bed it was so big.

Then came those leftover vegetables. Not quite befitting of a room of such elegance and quality – we had come for an evening of The Play That Goes Wrong, surely this would not turn out to be The Hotel That Goes Wrong too.

Accompanying the market stall purchases was an intriguing hand-written note from the show’s producer Wayne Blext for his personal assistant ‘Meryl’.

The amusing missive lambasted the ‘useless PA’ because the last time they hosted an ‘important visitor’ there was a lack of a welcome gift. She was to be given one last chance.

It ended: “PS. Get some vegetables when you are out on that errand this afternoon. My wife told me to pick up some for dinner tonight.”

Enter stage left, our new goodie bag.

Stage show like no other

The thing about The Play That Goes Wrong is you can never tell what is really meant to be happening – that fluffed line? The tumbling prop? The – somewhat – incapacitated cast members?

The skit with the vegetables was a perfect introduction to this world of mayhem. And that in itself is part of the show’s brilliance – the only thing harder than perfectly executing a stage show is perfectly executing a show where perfection is imperfection.

Before the diverse audience of all ages and backgrounds took their seats, our vegetables were returned to the crew and behind the scenes we got to see first-hand how some of the night’s stunts would be performed.

Eye-opening and exciting, yet terrifying – it pushes the outstanding cast to its limits before the curtain is even raised.

Oxford Mail: The hilarious 2023-24 Company of The Play That Goes Wrong at the Duchess Theatre. Picture: Robert

It’s a nought-to-sixty laugh-a-minute thriller that can’t slow down because the brake has fallen off.

Slapstick is not for everyone (I wasn’t sure it would be my cup of tea) but the show has you in fits of laughter.

It follows the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’s performance of 1920s murder mystery The Murder at Haversham Manor.

But this hapless bunch are in for a night they will never forget where nothing goes right: white spirit wreaks havoc, crew are forced to step in for unconscious colleagues and there's a plethora of further unexpected escapades.

Being aware of some of the tricks about to happen did not take away from the delightfully daring acts. You could not take your eyes off the stage (or anywhere around you) for fear of missing the next joke.

Doubly as difficult is playing two roles at once as each of the cast is performing as the am-dram novices and the characters in turn they are pretending to be in their own show.

The performers were at their best working together, with Laurence Olivier award-nominated actor Rolan Bell (Robert Grove/Thomas Colleymore) terrific throughout.

Oxford Mail: Two of the brilliant cast members: Rolan Bell (Robert) and Ross Virgo (Max). Picture: Robert Day

The production is now in its 9th year at The Duchess Theatre – less than a 10-minute walk from the Middle Eight.

It was created by Mischief, the team behind the hit BBC One Series The Goes Wrong Show as well as Peter Pan Goes Wrong (returning from a stint on Broadway with a Christmas run in the West End before continuing its UK tour), Magic Goes Wrong, The Comedy About a Bank Robbery and more.

Tickets are currently available from £22 at theplaythatgoeswrong.com

Hotel and dinner

Our home for the evening was magnificently modern – it was only opened in 2021 by Shiva Hotels – and expansive with everything you need available.

As well as the incredible rooms and location, it is the perfect pit-stop for theatregoers with a pre-theatre dining set-menu (two courses £27 per head or £32 for three courses).

Served in their chic Sycamore Vino Cucina restaurant, it is a chance to sample incredible Italian dining before the show starts.

My wife and I dined on this, opting for the Milano salami with fig relish and sourdough and the arancini as starters. It was followed up with pit-roasted salmon and lentils and the club steak for mains.

Oxford Mail: Milano salami with fig relish and sourdough at Middle Eight hotel

Each course was superb, befitting of some of the capital’s best establishments.

But it is the spectacular suites which truly elevate this great hotel and represent the highest of quality with a wow-factor which is guaranteed to impress.

An overnight stay in a standard room is available from £400 (www.middleeight.com).

As nights out go, it is highly recommended. The rooms and food at Middle Eight are as good as it gets and The Play That Goes Wrong is a smash-hit showstopper where everything goes right. It is not to be missed.