Noises Off Review

Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham – until 17th February 2024

Reviewed by Jacqui Radford


Noises Off, written by Michael Frayne is a play within a play that is fast paced farce. Anyone who remembers farce from the 70s and 80s can easily identify traits of their favourite productions. In some ways the play is a trip down memory lane but also reminds us how comedy has changed over time.

The play is spread across three acts, each portraying the same scene of a fictional farce ‘Nothing On’, but as it careers from a dysfunctional dress rehearsal, through the first live performance and culminating in the most nonsense end of run performance.

The set design and changes are used brilliantly to mark the transition from each ‘performance’. We see them from alternating backstage and front of house perspectives. All adding to the sense of anticipation and increasing fits of giggles.

The entire performance is fast paced but the final act is an energetic and cleverly choreographed treat that combines all the best elements of slapstick. Think of misplaced props, revolving doors, ill-fitting clothes and banana skins and you get the picture.

This performance had a stellar cast that included Liza Goddard, Paul Bradley and Simon Shepherd but special mention has to go to Lisa Ambalavanar who somehow manages to add comedy to sticking to the script when all around is mayhem.

If you love farce, you will not be disappointed. If you’ve never experienced an on-stage performance that includes farce, this is a fantastic introduction. It’s hard to do the play justice without any spoilers!