Comedy by Michael Frayn. 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.
A film version of the play, adapted by Marty Kaplan, was released in 1992 with the following cast: Carol Burnett as 'Dotty Otley', Michael Caine as 'Lloyd Fellowes', John Ritter as 'Garry Lejeune', Nicollette Sheridan as 'Brooke Ashton', Christopher Reeve as 'Frederick Dallas', Marilu Henner as 'Belinda Blair', Julie Hagerty as 'Poppy Taylor', Mark Linn-Baker as 'Tim Allgood', and Denholm Elliott as 'Selsdon Mowbray'.
Michael Frayn's other plays recent seen in London's West End include Paul Miller's revival of Democracy at the Wyndham's Theatre in 2012; Jeremy Sams' revival of Donkeys' Years at the Comedy Theatre in 2006; Jeremy Sams' revival of Benefactors at the Albery Theatre in 2002; and Michael Blakemore's production of Copenhagen at the Duchess Theatre in 1998.
Noises Off - Original West End London Production 1982 to 1986
Previewed 11 February 1982, Opened 23 February 1982, Closed 27 March 1982 at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith
Previewed 30 March 1982, Opened 31 March 1982, Closed 1 November 1986 at the Savoy Theatre
The original cast at Lyric Theatre Hammersmith and the West End's Savoy Theatre (up to Saturday 1 January 1983) featured Patricia Routledge as 'Dotty Otley', Paul Eddington as 'Lloyd Dallas', Nicky Henson as 'Garry Lejeune', Rowena Roberts as 'Brooke Ashton', Tony Mathews as 'Frederick Fellowes', Jan Waters as 'Belinda Blair', Yvonne Antrobus as 'Poppy Norton-Taylor', Roger Lloyd Pack as 'Tim Allgood', and Michael Aldridge as 'Selsdon Mowbray', with Ray Edwards as 'Electrician'.
The second cast at the Savoy Theatre (from Monday 3 January 1983) featured Phyllida Law as 'Dotty Otley', Benjamin Whitrow as 'Lloyd Dallas', Glyn Grain as 'Garry Lejeune', Mandy Perryment as 'Brooke Ashton', John Quayle as 'Frederick Fellowes', Gabrielle Drake as 'Belinda Blair', Mary Chilton as 'Poppy Norton-Taylor', Robert Bathurst as 'Tim Allgood', and Robert Flemying as 'Selsdon Mowbray', with Ray Edwards as 'Electrician'. This was then followed by numerous cast changes throughout the remainder of the run.
Directed by Michael Blakemore with sets by Michael Annals, costumes by Brenda Murphy, and lighting by Spike Gaden.
Noises Off - 1st West End London Revival 2000 to 2003
Previewed 29 September 2000, opened 5 October 2000, closed 20 February 2001 at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre
Transferred previewed 3 May 2001, opened 14 May 2001, closed 26 January 2002 at the Piccadilly Theatre
Transferred previewed 20 February 2002, opened 7 March 2002, closed 20 July 2002 at the Comedy Theatre (now Harold Pinter Theatre)
Returned previewed 4 August 2003, opened 13 August 2003, closed 8 November 2003 at the Piccadilly Theatre
The National Theatre's revival of Michael Frayn's award-winning Noises Off in London directed by Jeremy Sams.
The original cast at the NT Lyttelton Theatre in 2000 and the West End's Piccadilly Theatre in 2001 featured Patricia Hodge as 'Dotty Otley', Peter Egan as 'Lloyd Dallas', Aden Gillett as 'Garry Lejeune', Natalie Walter as 'Brooke Ashton', Selina Griffiths as 'Poppy Norton-Taylor', Susie Blake as 'Belinda Blair', Jeff Rawle as 'Frederick Fellowes', Paul Thornley as 'Tim Allgood', and Christopher Benjamin as 'Selsdon Mowbray'.
The cast at the Comedy Theatre in 2002 featured Selina Cadell as 'Dottie Otley', Nicholas Jones as 'Lloyd Dallas', Paul Thomley as 'Garry Lejeune', Pandora Clifford as 'Brooke Ashton', Tessa Churchard as 'Poppy Norton-Taylor', Julia Deakin as 'Belinda Blair', Derek Griffiths as 'Frederick Fellowes', Nick Bagnall as 'Tim Allgood', and Malcolm Tierney as 'Selsdon Mowbray'.
The cast at the Piccadilly Theatre in 2003 featured Cheryl Campbell as 'Dotty Otley', Philip Franks as 'Lloyd Dallas', James Albrecht as 'Garry Lejeune', Tilly Gaunt as 'Brooke Ashton', Nicky Callanan as 'Poppy Norton-Taylor', Tessa Churchard as 'Belinda Blair', Paul Bradley as 'Frederick Fellowes', Andrew Pointon as 'Tim Allgood', and Sylvester McCoy as 'Selsdon Mowbray'.
Directed by Jeremy Sams with designs by Robert Jones, lighting by Tim Mitchell, and sound by Fergus O'Hare.
"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 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
Noises Off in London at the Piccadilly Theatre previewed from 4 August 2003, opened on 13 August 2003, and closed on 8 November 2003
Noises Off - 2nd West End London Revival 2011 to 2012
Previewed 3 December 2011, opened 13 December 2011, closed 25 February 2012 at the Old Vic Theatre
Previewed 24 March 2012, Opened 3 April 2012, Closed 30 June 2012 at the Novello Theatre
A major new revival of Michael Frayn's classic backstage comedy Noises Off in London featuring Janie Dee and Celia Imrie.
The cast at the Old Vic in 2011 featured Celia Imrie as 'Dotty Otley', Robert Glenister as 'Lloyd Dallas', Jamie Glover as 'Garry Lejeune', Amy Nuttall as 'Brooke Ashton', Jonathan Coy as 'Frederick Fellowes', Janie Dee as 'Belinda Blair', Aisling Loftus as 'Poppy Norton-Taylor', Paul Ready as 'Tim Allgood', and Karl Johnson as 'Selsdon Mowbray'.
The cast at the Novello Theatre in 2012 featured Celia Imrie as 'Dotty Otley', Robert Glenister as 'Lloyd Dallas', Jamie Glover as 'Garry Lejeune', Lucy Briggs-Owen as 'Brooke Ashton', Jonathan Coy as 'Frederick Fellowes', Janie Dee as 'Belinda Blair', Alice Bailey Johnson as 'Poppy Norton-Taylor', Paul Ready as 'Tim Allgood', and Karl Johnson as 'Selsdon Mowbray'.
Directed by Lindsay Posner with designs by Peter McKintosh, lighting by Paul Pyant, music by Michael Bruce, and sound by Fergus O'Hare.
"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.
Noises Off - 3rd West End London Revival 2019 to 2020
Previewed 27 June 2019, Opened 2 July 2019, Closed 3 August 2019 at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre
Previewed 27 September 2019, Opened 3 October 2019, Closed 4 January 2020 at the Garrick Theatre
A major revival of Michael Frayn's comedy farce Noises Off in London starring Meera Syal, Lloyd Owen and Sarah Hadland
This production transfers to London's West End following an acclaimed and extended season at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre in London.
The cast at London's Lyric Theatre Hammersmith featured Meera Syal as 'Dotty Otley' and Lloyd Owen as 'Lloyd Dallas', with Daniel Rigby as 'Garry Lejeune', Amy Morgan as 'Brooke Ashton', Lois Chimimba as 'Poppy Norton-Taylor', Debra Gillett as 'Belinda Blair', Jonathan Cullen as 'Freddie Fellows', Enyi Okoronkwo as 'Tim Allgood', and Simon Rouse as 'Selsdon Mowbray'.
The cast at the West End's Garrick Theatre featured Meera Syal as 'Dotty Otley' and Lloyd Owen as 'Lloyd Dallas', with Daniel Rigby as 'Garry Lejeune', Lisa McGrillis as 'Brooke Ashton', Anjli Mohindra as 'Poppy Norton Taylor', Sarah Hadland as 'Belinda Blair', Richard Henders as 'Frederick Fellowes', Adrian Richards as 'Tim Allgood', and Simon Rouse as 'Selsdon Mowbray'.
Directed by Jeremy Herrin with choreography by Joyce Henderson, sets by Max Jones, costumes by Max Jones, lighting by Amy Mae, and sound by Lorna Munden.
When this production was original seen at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith in July 2019, Michael Billington in the Guardian said that "Michael Frayn's play is like a piece of clockwork that still functions impeccably almost 40 years after its invention." Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard commented how "Jeremy Herrin marshals a superb cast of nine to giddy heights of fun. The second act requires a dazzling extended feat of precision-timed physical comedy and this is achieved splendidly, even if it does slightly outstay its welcome. Every actor is wonderful." Veronica Lee in the i newspaper wrote that "the script is a delight... but despite some committed performances this production just doesn't catch fire... Jeremy Herrin's direction feels leaden and the alchemy is absent." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph explained that "the direction is meticulous, the energy is unflagging, ample resource has gone into the mock-Tudor country house set and its backstage counterpart. Many of the cast are naturally gifted at comedy. True, some of the plot detail is so fine, it tends to blur at speed. We can be so busy keeping up, and admiring the craftsmanship, we forget to laugh." Neil Norman in the Daily Express described how "director Jeremy Herrin handles the frantic to-ing and fro-ing well and there are some vivid performances, especially from Lloyd Owen as the director Lloyd whose patience is not so much thin as transparent and whose dalliances with several members of the cast and crew come back to bite him on the derriere." Ann Treneman in the Times highlighted that "Jeremy Herrin directs with a diabolically sure touch as the original play that goes wrong returns to the theatre where, 37 years ago, it was first staged and everything went right... Delightful."
Meera Syal's West End stage credits include the roles of 'Pauline' in Jamie Lloyd's revival of Harold Pinter's A Kind of Alaska at the Harold Pinter Theatre in 2018; 'Miss Hannigan' in Nikolai Foster's revival of the Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin musical Annie at the Piccadilly Theatre in 2017; 'Nurse' in Kenneth Branagh and Rob Ashford's revival of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet at the Garrick Theatre in 2016; 'Beatrice' in Iqbal Khan's revival of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, for the Royal Shakespeare Company, at the Noel Coward Theatre in 2012; and the title role in Glen Walford's revival of Willy Russell's Shirley Valentine at the Trafalgar Studios in 2010.
Lloyd Owen's London stage credits include the roles of 'Joseph' in Lindsay Posner's production of Matthew Perry's The End of Longing at the Playhouse Theatre in 2016; 'Mike' in Jonathan Kent's production of David Lindsay-Abaire's Good People at the Noel Coward Theatre in 2014; 'Frank Farmer' in Thea Sharrock's production of the stage musical version of Lawrence Kasdan's The Bodyguard at the Adelphi Theatre in 2012; and 'Nick' in Howard Davies' revival of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the Aldwych Theatre in 1996.
Sarah Hadland's West End theatre credits include the role of 'Ginnie' in Daniel Aukin's production of Joshua Harmon's Admissions at the Trafalgar Studios in 2019.
Noises Off in London at the Garrick Theatre previewed from 27 September 2019, opened on 3 October 2019, and closed on 4 January 2020