Arts Reviews

“Spotlights the Hectic Chaos Involved in Putting on a Play” – Theatre Review: Noises Off @ Theatre Royal

Amy Child & Ana Balanici

The 40th anniversary West End production of Michael Frayn’s multi award-winning farce, Noises Off, recently rocked up in style to Theatre Royal Nottingham as part of its UK tour – and it’s easy to see why it’s considered a comedy classic. Amy Child and Ana Balanici review.

If you’re a fan of hilarious, meta-theatrical farce, we’ve found your newest theatre obsession. Noises Off is a comedy in the same vein as The Play That Goes Wrong, but even more outlandishly creative. The plot follows a dysfunctional team of actors and backstage crew attempting to stage a farce, whose tireless efforts quickly turn farcical themselves. It spotlights the hectic chaos involved in putting on a play and lends new meaning to the phrase: ‘the show must go on’.

The sheer levels of choreography were insane

Noises Off kept us on our toes the entire way through, with never a dull moment. It was consistently refreshing and inventive, finding new ways to entertain for each Act. This was farce at its technical finest. The sheer levels of choreography were insane and staggeringly impressive. Bravo to everyone involved in pulling this show together. It clearly took incredible amounts of work backstage and during rehearsals to make something so complicated flow so seamlessly.

they pulled off fast-paced, chaotic comedy with prowess, earning laugh after laugh from the audience

Though the cast was relatively small, they brought the stage completely alive, with high energy performances from start to finish. Every cast member fully embodied their character and it was a joy to watch any one of them at any given moment. Together, they pulled off fast-paced, chaotic comedy with prowess, earning laugh after laugh from the audience. We particularly loved Simon Shepard as the Director, Lloyd, for his hilariously dry “I’m-done-with-you-idiots-why-did-I-ever-choose-to-do-this” performance, and Dan Fredenburgh as the actor, Garry, for his exceptional physical comedy. His stamina was outstanding and he really elevated any scene he was in. It was brilliant watching the play divulge into chaos, the characters verge on madness, and everything go spectacularly wrong as it went along.

It was particularly funny seeing the backstage crew attempting to keep the performance going

It’s also worth mentioning that for others like us, who have been personally involved in the mayhem of putting on a play, there are many relatable moments which will have you sympathising and suffering with the characters. We constantly found ourselves saying ‘been there’ or ‘that was us’ whilst watching, which added a whole new dimension to the comedy. It was particularly funny seeing the backstage crew attempting to keep the performance going, with the set being turned into one of the wings and the DSM battling to hold the ship together.

The script is exceptionally clever and clearly written by someone who knows theatre and farce inside out. Despite the characters’ play being repeated three times, many of the jokes worked on several levels throughout the show and were funny in different ways each time they cropped up: first in a rehearsal, then seen silently from backstage, and finally in a catastrophic performance.

This was one of the best comedies we’ve ever had the joy of watching and we would wholeheartedly recommend it. It’s on at Theatre Royal Nottingham until 3rd February, so run and get your tickets now!

Amy Child & Ana Balanici

Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.

In-article images courtesy of Pamela Raith Photography. No changes were made to these images.

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