Noises Off

From the moment the curtain goes up on Noises Off there’s barely a quiet moment in the house — and that sound is belly laughs coming from the audience.

This Old Vic touring production of Michael Frayn’s play about putting on a play is pitch perfect, with a fantastic ensemble cast blazing through the farce as things get fishier and fishier.

Neil Pearson’s sardonic, stressed director attempts to keep order, but the constant bedhopping and other peccadillos mean he is doomed from the off. David Bark-Jones has a fantastic physical presence, taking some well-timed — and very funny — tumbles. Sasha Waddell keeps court as the gossiping dame and Chris Larkin is a charm as the hypochondriac luvvie who somehow becomes the target of Maureen Beattie’s ageing actress’s affections.

The (real) director Lindsay Posner keeps everything on track rather more successfully than his on-stage counterpart, helped by Peter McKintosh’s neat back-to-back set.

The spotlight, however, is really on Frayn’s sparkling script.

Comic theatre is one of the trickiest things to pull off, and this production does it with panache.

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