Round-up of Noises Off at the Garrick Theatre
After a critically-acclaimed production at the Lyric Hammersmith earlier this year, the 1980s comedy Noises Off transfers to the West End, delivering laugh-out-loud moments every minute. In a non-stop show that’s packed with energy and wit, this ‘play-within-a-play’ is a must-see for anyone who has performed on stage or wants to see what it’s like for a company of actors to work together. Hailed as one of the funniest comedies of all time, find out more about Noises Off with our complete guide and book your tickets now!
All about Noises Off
What happens in Noises Off?
The play is inspired by stage directions written in a script, as a company of touring actors rehearse their latest show titled Nothing On. Performing a bedroom farce, the show is a celebration of the unpredictability of theatre where anything can happen but the show must go on.
In Noises Off, there are three ‘scenes’ where the action takes place. As the curtain opens, audiences meet the cast at the technical rehearsal of their show before opening night. With unprepared actors and props going missing, it’s up to their director to ensure the show must go on! With an exasperated director and exhausted performers, will they be able to pull it off?
The second ‘scene’ follows the company during a matinee performance of their show, one month into the run. But in this part of the show, audiences get insight into the backstage life of a show, with the action the audience sees and the play-within-a-play timed to one another in order to show on and off-stage relationships.
The third and final ‘scene’ is set during the final performance of their run, with cast and crew members at their breaking points. Hopelessly trying to cover up their mistakes, a crumbling set and stitching each other up, it’s clear that everyone’s lost the plot. With characters having to improvise the final few words, Noises Off shows that there really is no business like showbusiness!
The history of Noises Off
Watching productions from behind-the-scenes, Michael Frayn felt inspired to create a play that captured relationships on both sides of the curtain, with the title taken from stage directions indicating sounds offstage. After writing the play and the ‘play-within-the-play’ Noises Off received its world premiere at the Lyric Hammersmith in 1982. Immediately astounding audiences at the off-West End venue with its creativity, flair and accurate dramatisation of a thespian’s life, Noises Off transferred to the Savoy Theatre, where it ran until 1987.
Who is starring in Noises Off at the Garrick Theatre?
Meera Syal reprises her performance as Dotty Otley, returning to the Garrick Theatre after starring in Romeo and Juliet. She’s also starred as Miss Hannigan in Annie and Kitty in Bombay Dreams.
Cast members reprising their roles from the Lyric Hammersmith production include Lloyd Owen as Lloyd Dallas, previously appearing in the West End production of The End of Longing, written by Matthew Perry. Daniel Rigby stars as Garry Lejeune, with theatre credits including One Man Two Guvnors and Alan Turing in Breaking The Code. Simon Rouse plays Selsdon Mowbray, whose West End credits include The Dresser and The Full Monty.
The cast is completed by Sarah Hadland as Belinda Blair, Richard Henders as Frederick Fellowes, Lisa McGrillis as Brooke Ashton, Anjli Mohindra as Poppy Norton-Taylor and Adrian Richards as Tim Allgood.
With cast members playing characters in a play-within-a-play, we’ve made a table to make it easier to understand the who’s who of Noises Off.
|Cast member||Who they play in Noises Off||Who they play in Nothing On – the play within the play of Noises Off.|
|Meera Syal||Dotty Otley||Mrs Clackett|
|Lloyd Owen||Lloyd Dallas|
|Daniel Rigby||Garry Lejeune||Roger Tramplemain|
|Simon Rouse||Selsdon Mowbray||The burglar|
|Sarah Hadland||Belinda Blair||Flavia Brent|
|Richard Henders||Frederick Fellowes||Philip Brent / Sheikh|
|Lisa McGrillis||Brooke Ashton||Vicki|
|Anjli Mohindra||Poppy Norton-Taylor|
|Adrian Richards||Tim Allgood|
Previous revivals of Noises Off
Noises Off has enjoyed a number of revivals in the West End and Broadway, recently performed at the Old Vic in 2012 starring Janie Dee, Robert Glenister, Celia Imrie, Karl Johnson, Aisling Loftus, Amy Nuttall and Paul Ready.
Broadway audiences have also enjoyed their fix of Noises Off, with a 2015 revival starring Andrea Martin, Megan Hilty and Campbell Scott. The limited engagement was nominated for five Tony Awards, including best revival of a play.
What did critics say about the production?
“The company works as a hilarious, dysfunctional ensemble; there isn’t a weak link in them and it’s a group effort. The play remains a laughter-generating machine”.
“It’s always a good time for a revival of Michael Frayn’s magical comedy about the theatre itself. For my money the funniest farce ever written.”
“Good farce isn’t just about slamming doors and mistaken identity, it’s about human frailty as well. ‘Noises Off’, though, is a great farce: it manages to be about both those things and simultaneously works as an affectionate love letter to regional theatre.”
Why should you see Noises Off?
If you’re looking for a laugh-out-loud production in the West End to escape the real world, there’s no show better than Noises Off. While the original script may be approaching its 40th birthday, the refreshing, universal outlook on life in the theatrical world can be understood by all ages. With a high energy performance delivered by the whole cast, as well as characters that may resonate people you know in real life, Noises Off is a comedy where backstage conversations become front and centre!