REVIEW: Noises Off at Sheffield Lyceum is simply brilliant

NOISES OFF by Frayn,              Author �' Michael Frayn, Director �' Lindsay Posner, Designer �' Peter McKintosh, Lighting �' Paul Pyant, Royal Theatre Bath, 2013, Credit Photographer: Johan Persson - www.perssonphotography.com /
NOISES OFF by Frayn, Author �' Michael Frayn, Director �' Lindsay Posner, Designer �' Peter McKintosh, Lighting �' Paul Pyant, Royal Theatre Bath, 2013, Credit Photographer: Johan Persson - www.perssonphotography.com /
0
Have your say

‘We’re such a happy company,’ gushes flamboyant Belinda (Sasha Waddell) at the dress rehearsal in Weston-super-Mare.

‘We’re such a happy company,’ gushes flamboyant Belinda (Sasha Waddell) at the dress rehearsal in Weston-super-Mare.

By the time they get to Ashton-under-Lyne things are starting to fray, and by Stockton on-Tees (or is it Lowestoft?) they’ve completely fallen apart.

The play is Nothing On, the bad farce at the heart of Noises Off, Michael Frayn’s wonderful send-up of farces, touring companies and the acting profession in general.

Not a cliché goes unspoofed: the many-doored set, missing trousers, girl in her undies, not to mention the exhausted stage managers (Danielle Flett and Simon Bubb), and backstage affairs, quarrels and baggage.

Every character is a glorious caricature. There’s the hair-tearing director (Neil Pearson); the dipsomaniac elderly thesp (Geoffrey Freshwater); the temperamental but word perfect ingenue (Thomasin Rand); the ageing leading lady with money in the show (Maureen Beattie); and the sensitive one (Chris Larkin).

In the right hands it’s a gem of a play; it needs precise, perfectly timed choreography so that all the disasters – bleeding noses, misplaced props, missed cues – happen exactly to order. The Old Vic’s production gets it all absolutely right, and is quite simply brilliant.

Noises Off is at Sheffield Lyceum until Saturday, May 18, 2013

LYNNE PATRICK