STORYHOUSE, CHESTER – UNTIL SATURDAY 10TH FEBRUARY 2024
REVIEWED BY MIA BOWEN
The multi award winning comedy Noises Off, written by Michael Frayn, is currently touring across the UK to commemorate its 40th anniversary. This production, directed by Lindsay Posner, enjoyed a sold-out season in the West End beginning of last year. The cast includes Liza Goddard as Dotty Otley, Paul Bradley as Selsdon Mowbray, and Simon Shepherd as Lloyd Dallas.
Called “the funniest farce ever written” Noises Off presents an entertaining double feature – a play within a play. The theme of chaos is quite prevalent in farce. The characters are constantly in a state of frenzied activity as they attempt to avert one crisis after another. Often, their well-intentioned actions inadvertently lead to even more crises, which they then must find a way to resolve. The story is scrupulously arranged and brilliantly humorous from start to finish.
In the first act, we witness a disastrous dress rehearsal leading up to the opening night of a touring theatre company. Throughout this act, we are introduced to a variety of characters who constantly make blunders, resulting in a humorously entertaining performance. My favourite part of the play is the second act, which is set backstage and particularly marvellous. The focus is on the cast members offstage rather than on. Although the dialogue is minimal, the physical comedy and well-timed entrances and exits add a delightful element to the performance. It is truly enjoyable to watch. During the final act, prepare yourself for uncontrollable laughter as we witness the company’s last performance of their tour.
The success of a production like this depends on the synergy of the entire cast. The actors flawlessly executed the comedic timing, resulting in a truly wonderful performance. The fantastic production team’s exceptional work deserves recognition. Despite the chaotic nature of the show, their efforts create an organised chaos that enables it to run smoothly.
Noises Off is a fantastic series of brilliantly choreographed slapstick moments. I couldn’t help but notice the smiles and laughter on the faces of the audience as they left the theatre, clearly delighted by the immense joy they had experienced.