Noises Off

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Previewed 3 December 2011, opened 13 December 2011, closed 25 February 2012 at the Old Vic Theatre in London
Tranferred 24 March 2012 to 30 June 2012 at the Novello Theatre in London

A major new revival of Michael Frayn's classic backstage comedy Noises Off in London featuring Janie Dee and Celia Imrie.

Noises Off is a glorious comic romp, which offers two plays for the price of one. Whilst the traditional British farce Nothing On is being performed, a real life farce unfolds backstage during the show's final rehearsal and the ensuing disastrous tour. Nothing On and Noises Off interlock as the actors make their exits from one play only to find themselves making entrances into the other and back again. All the classic comedy elements are here: mistaken identity, door slamming and effortless timing.

The cast for this production of Noises Off in London features Jonathan Coy, Janie Dee, Robert Glenister, Jamie Glover, Celia Imrie, Karl Johnson and Paul Ready. Casting subject to change. It is directed by Lindsay Posner with designs by Peter McKintosh, lighting by Paul Pyant and sound by Fergus O'Hare. Michael Frayn's West End credits include Benefactors, Democracy and Donkeys' Years

"If anything, the long run and the transfer have sharpened it. The ending seems tauter and there are even new, fast-flying, marginal jokes in the mimetic and breathtakingly choreographed second act, when we see from backstage the warring cast of Nothing On reaching Ashton-under-Lyme and breaking-point a month into the tour. There was already more 'business' than Lord Sugar sees in a year, what with the bouquet, the whisky bottle, the sheets, the axe and the cactus. Frayn 's storytelling skill means that, even on a first viewing, you know from the first act - the rehearsal - not only what is supposed to happen on stage, but what drives the actors in their private lives." The Times

"This is one of the great comic plays in the English language, and Lindsay Posner's revival, now transferred from the cavernous Old Vic to the intimate Novello, more than gives it its due. I defy anyone not to emerge from the theatre chuckling with joy at its sheer Swiss-clock cleverness... The cast is so uniformly magnificent it is unfair to single anyone out... But the play really is the thing: a cherishable tribute to farce which simultaneously dissects its mechanisms and makes them work. It's rare to sit in the theatre and feel every single care slip away, but Noises Off is the antidote to all gloom. Long may it run." The Daily Telegraph

"A group of exhausted performers deliver a ropey farce at a new venue each week. By the end of the run, their increasingly frenzied backstage love-ins and fall-outs and their frantic ad-libbing have pitched them into pandemonium. No, not another euro summit but Noises Off, Michael Frayn's side-splitting 1982 farce. Lindsay Posner's miraculously choreographed revival is proof that it has lost none of its power to reduce adults to hysterical, helpless wrecks with mascara running down their ankles... It's a farce about a farce, which is why it's like life itself. Robert Glenister's director, Lloyd, dressed unmistakably in Sir Trevor Nunn's trademark denim shirt and jeans, says: 'Getting on, getting off. Doors and sardines. That's farce, that's the theatre, that's life.'" The Mail on Sunday

The original stage version of Noises Off was presented in London first at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre in February 1982 before it transferred to London's West End, opening at the Savoy Theatre on 31 March 1982 where is enjoyed a run of 4½ years, winning both the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards for 'Best Comedy'.

Noises Off in London at the Old Vic Theatre previewed from 3 December 2011, opened on 13 December 2011 and closed 25 February 2012 before transferring to the Novello Theatre from 24 March 2012 to 30 June 2012.


National Theatre's Noises Off directed by Jeremy Sams 2000 to 2003

Previewed 29 September 2000, opened 5 October 2000, closed 20 February 2001 at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre in London
Transferred previewed 3 May 2001, opened 14 May 2001, closed 26 January 2002 at the Piccadilly Theatre in London
Transferred previewed 20 February 2002, opened 7 March 2002, closed 20 July 2002 at the Comedy Theatre in London
Returned previewed 4 August 2003, opened 13 August 2003, closed 8 November 2003 at the Piccadilly Theatre in London

The National Theatre's revival of Michael Frayn's award-winning Noises Off in London directed by Jermey Sams.

"Uncontrollable laughter and the sound of the audience's sides splitting is what you hear during this rollicking revival of Michael Frayn's comedy about a second-rate theatre company. The entire cast farce about to great effect in a country house which is full of comical comings and goings. Doors slam, trousers drop and tempers are frayed as backstage bickering takes a hold... It's all an absolute delight." The Daily Mirror

"This is, quite simply, one of the National's biggest smash hits ever. Michael Frayn's play (1982) is among the funniest, most original and most brilliantly constructed farces in any language, and also one of the best plays about the theatre. An acting company is touring with a completely batty farce called Nothing On, and gradually the farce of the actors' own lives intertwines with, and begins to disrupt, their play... Should not the National be doing one of Frayn's less commercial plays, Benefactors, perhaps, or Clouds? The question becomes pedantic in the face of this coruscating performance. Jeremy Sams's cast, led by Peter Egan and Patricia Hodge, are first-rate and shine like stars." The Sunday Times

"The funniest play ever written about the theatre, Michael Frayn's Noises Off, is fully justifying its revival in the Lyttelton auditorium. Frayn has done a few rewrites with his new director, Jeremy Sams. We now have three burglars instead of three oil sheikhs, or was that the other way round? It doesn't matter: you still laugh yourself silly at the onstage farce - Nothing On - being subverted by backstage jealousies, rage and violence." The Mail on Sunday

"Against stiff competition, Michael Frayn's Noises Off emerged as the funniest play of the 1980s, and in Jeremy Sams's revival at the Lyttelton it loses none of its power to reduce able-bodied spectators to laughter-exhausted wrecks... Sams's company include a terminally despairing Peter Egan, a homicidally ingratiating Aden Gillett, a beamingly accident-prone Jeff Rawle, and the wonderful Patricia Hodge. They and the rest of this crack troupe add vivid personal colour to the most inventive display of farce mechanics I have seen for many a long day. After a long crescendo of chaos and pandemonium, the performance reaches a plateau of comic delirium where Hodge has only to twitch her hand or Gillett pick up a cardboard box to rock the house to its foundations. Bliss." The Sunday Telegraph

"I remember falling off my seat, convulsed by laughter, when I saw Noises Off in 1982 and, to my astonishment, Jeremy Sams's new production had me at it again. The first act is a priceless parody: it's the final rehearsal of a dismal trouser-dropping, door-slamming farce... The second act, which reveals what is going on backstage, requires a different sort of comic ingeniousness as the 'real-life' dramas reach boiling point, and characters make their exits from the stage only to take up their violent, mimed quarrel where they left off. But it was during the inspired lunacy and sublime slapstick of the last act - when the farce within the farce finishes up with three identical burglars on a stage swimming with sardines - that my cheeks got cramp and my mascara ran down to my ankles... I emerged giddy and high, gasping at the technical virtuosity, the split-second, sidesplitting send-up of certain theatrical types and styles. Catch it." The Mail on Sunday