Noises Off
Date performed:
Michael Frayn
Oct 2009

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 Noises Off is not one play but two - simultaneously a traditional sex farce, Nothing On, and the backstage farce that develops during Nothing On's final rehearsal and tour. The two farces begin to interlock, as the characters make their exits from Nothing On only to find themselves making entrances into the even worse nightmare going on backstage, and exit from that only to make their entrances back into Nothing On.

In the end, at the disastrous final performance, the two farces can be kept separate no longer and coalesce into one single collective nervous breakdown - The funniest comedy ever written

Thoughts from the Director
Noises Off presents serious problems on a large West End revolving stage, but at the Library Theatre the problems are almost insurmountable. The theatre is not big enough and, more importantly, just not high enough because the set has to represent two stories of a cottage and the height available is barely 11.5 feet. Before we even thought about how we could cast it, we had to be able to set it and manoeuvre it.

Eventually, we decided it was possible and the play was cast and rehearsals began. I cannot think of a play that has been harder to do from both a set building and an acting point of view. Act II has turned my hair grey. Even now, as I write this, I keep on thinking - how on earth are we going to do this? Whether we do or not remains to be seen. I hope it will be great. All I can say is that the cast and the backstage team have been fantastic - Peter Howard

Review, The Star 14Oct09
The Tudor Players version of Michael Frayn's farce is a delight. How director Peter Howard managed to get his cast through such a complicated series of shenanigans is anyone's guess.

Each actor has an onstage and offstage persona to contend with. The dress rehearsal contains missed cues, exits and entrances and bothersome props galore. Director Lloyd Dallas, sitting in the audience is getting more than a tad tetchy. It appears offstage tensions are spilling into the play. We then get to see the crazy backstage antics... players improvising... Brooke hilariously carries on with her script... the funniest laugh-out-loud section... a piece of divine farce owing to a repeated cue whereby we have a burglar followed in sweet succession by not one but two burglar understudies.

Fran Larkin is great as Belinda who ties to keep things together onstage and offstage. Siobhan Daley shines as the dizzy ingenue caught up in a love triangle. Roger Bingham puts in an inspired cameo as the infuriating alcoholic, Selsdon. Has anyone seen the sardines? Stephen Grigg


(Click on images to view full size versions).

Dorothy Otley Edwina Gascoyne
Lloyd Dallas Rod Duncan
Garry Lejeune John Moran
Brooke Ashton Siobhan Daley
Poppy Norton-Taylor Jo Waterhouse
Frederick Fellowes Phil Gascoyne
Belinda Blair Fran Larkin
Tim Allgood John Mackinder
Selsdon Mowbray Roger Bingham

Director Peter Howard
Set design Peter Howard
Hansel D'Roza
Set construction Bryan Ashcroft
Bradley D'Roza
Hansel D'Roza
John Jakins
Graham Ward
Stage manager John Jakins
Sound Bryan Ashcroft
Lighting Hansel D'Roza
Properties Bridget Ball
Pam Bush
Costumes Janet D'Roza
Continuity Andrea Howard
Front of house manager Carolyn Heslop
Friends of Tudor
Ticket secretaries Geoff & Lynn Randle
Graham & Ann Ward