11th - 14th November, 2015
Paul Townsend and James Linham
2016 Phoebe Rees Awards
Best Set Construction
Noises Off is a play within a play. It is about an ambitious director and his troupe of mediocre actors. The cast and crew are putting together a silly sex comedy titled, Nothing On - a single-set farce in which lovers frollic, doors slam, clothes are tossed away, and embarrassing hi-jinks ensue.
The three acts of Noises Off expose different phases of the disastrous show, Nothing On:
Act One: The Dress Rehearsal
While the impatient director, Lloyd Dallas, trudges through the opening scene of Noises On, the actors keep breaking character. Dotty keeps forgetting when to take her plate of sardines. Garry keeps challenging the stage directions in the script. Brooke is clueless about her fellow performers, and constantly loses her contact lens.
Act Three: When Everything Goes Wrong
In Act Three of Noises Off, the cast of Nothing On has been performing their show for nearly three months. They are seriously burnt out.When Dotty makes a few mistakes during her opening scene, she just begins to ramble, making up lines from off the top of her head. The rest of the characters then make a series of mistakes: Garry can't improvise his way out of a paper bag. Brooke doesn't pay attention to the changes that are rapidly occurring -- she just keeps doing her lines, even when they aren't appropriate. And the veteran actor, Selsdon, can't keep away from booze. By the play's end, their show is a comical catastrophe -- and the audience is rolling in the aisles, loving every moment.If you have never experienced theater as an actor or a crew member, then perhaps Noises Off is simply an entertaining show with a lot of laughs. However, for those of us who "tread the boards," Michael Frayn's Noises Off might very well be the funniest play ever written.
Playwright, novelist and translator Michael Frayn was born in London on 8 September 1933.
After two years National Service, during which he learned Russian, he read Philosophy at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He then worked as a reporter and columnist for The Guardian and The Observer, publishing several novels including The Tin Men (1965), winner of a Somerset Maugham Award, The Russian Interpreter (1966), which won the Hawthornden Prize, and Towards the End of the Morning (1967). More recent novels include A Landing on the Sun (1991), which won the Sunday Express Book of the Year and Headlong (1999), the story of the discovery of a lost painting by Bruegel, shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction. His latest novel, Spies (2002), a story of childhood set in England during the Second World War, won the 2002 Whitbread Novel Award and the 2003 Commonwealth Writers Prize (Eurasia region, Best Book), and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Book of the Year. Michael Frayn is also the recipient of the 2002 Heywood Hill Literary Prize.
Act Two: Backstage Antics
The second act of Noises Off takes place entirely backstage. Traditionally, the entire set is rotated to reveal the behind the scenes events which unfold. It is fun to watch the same scene of Nothing On from a different perspective.For anyone who has been backstage during a show - especially when something goes wrong - Act Two is bound to conjure a flood of hilarious memories. Despite the characters backstabbing one another, they somehow manage to get through their scene. But that's not the case with the final act of the play.