Mischief Theatre’s ‘Groan Ups’ – review round-up

Grown-ups playing children is not everyone’s cup of tea it seems as Mischief Theatre’s latest offering in physical comedy opens to mixed reviews.

That said, it depends on your sense of humour and some critics loved the actors and overall balance of stage action rewarding the entertaining show with multiple stars.

If you fancy a nostalgic night revisiting your childhood, with a slice of psychoanalysis in a physical comic format, then this show is for you.

Groan Ups is booking until 1 December 2019 at the Vaudeville Theatre, London.

Groan Ups tickets are available now.

Read a round up of reviews below.

Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph

“growing pains of the most painfully funny kind”


Michael Billington, The Guardian

“School swots and bullies for life”

“From age six to 30, Mischief Theatre’s engaging band of classmates bicker and play but rarely test the assumption that character is formed in childhood”

“Instead of The Play That Goes Wrong, this is more a study of the life that goes pear-shaped”

“It proves fitfully enjoyable but is overshadowed by works that have ploughed the same theatrical furrow”

“The problem is that drama depends on change whereas this play argues that we mature without ever growing up”


Nick Curtis, The Standard

“Overwhelmed by frantic histrionics and bawling, it felt like being in detention”

“What’s worse than a stage full of screaming children? A stage full of screaming adults pretending to be screaming children, that’s what.”

“It’s crudely funny at times but overwhelmed by frantic histrionics and bawling”

“How funny you find these tots will depend on how much you enjoy phony baby talk, poo jokes, and the molestation of hamsters”

“Jonathan Sayer’s Simon is so gratingly whiny I wanted to bully him myself.”

“The verdict on this first attempt has to be: could do better.”


Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out

“The folks behind ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’ fall flat on their faces with this oft-cringey school-set comedy”

“Mischief Theatre…they’re a genuinely heartening success story with an impressive work ethic and it’s a real shame that their new play ‘Groan Ups’ is fairly dreadful.”

“all sorts of wearyingly crass assumptions about class and sexuality.”

“They are a fundamentally likeable bunch. But they blunder way outside their comfort zone with the child acting in the first half and again with the bittersweet dramedy stuff in the second”


Dominic Maxwell, The Times

“bigger in scope, smaller in impact”


Charlie Wilks, broadwayworld.com

“this company are experts at physical comedy. Everything seems timed to perfection and nobody appears to miss a beat. From the very first joke, right to the last, there is so much laughter coming from the audience.”

“The children-turned-adults are superb. Henry Lewis, Charlie Russell, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields offer so much to each other, being very generous with their stage action.”

“I knew it was going to be funny, and I was actually crying with laughter towards the end, but at the same time I never expected it to be so tragic”

Average rating score for this production
👤 📅28 October 2019
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1 thought on “Mischief Theatre’s ‘Groan Ups’ – review round-up”

  1. This was without a doubt the WORST piece of theatre I have ever seen in almost 60 years of theatre-going. There was nothing of merit – not in scenography, music, performances and especially in the script. Had someone else not purchased the tickets, I would never have stayed. Three hours of my life utterly wasted, three hours that I will never get back.

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