Saturday, 16 March 2013

Noises Off (theatre)

I was happy when Noises Off was first announced as coming to Eastbourne during the Eastbourne Festival. I have never seen it and it is such a classic comedy that I really should do. However, I have now discovered that it is being performed at the Congress Theatre which I just don't like as a play venue. I accept that the Congress can be exciting when packed to the rafters for a big musical or a gig, but if the audience are somewhat lacking in numbers then any atmosphere created onstage doesn't seem to get far over the orchestra pit. The last play I saw there, The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice, definitely suffered from this syndrome and I am concerned that if the same holds true for Noises Off, then I might not get my £25 worth.

Written by Michael Frayn, Noises Off premiered at the Lyric Theatre in 1982. The run continued at the Savoy Theatre until 1987 winning the Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy. The version now touring has been updated from the original. Frayn continually rewrote the script up until 2000 to eliminate jokes that were too dated although I am not sure if this process still happens. The tour is an Old Vic production starring Neil Pearson and Maureen Beattie, directed by Lindsay Posner. 

The story is a play within a play allowing the audience to view the backstage rivalries, shenanigans and general incompetence of a fictional company and their tour of a farce entitled Nothing On. We see the dress rehearsal where no one has yet got to grips with their cues, an early performance which hasn't much improved, and one of the last shows of the tour which is still disastrous, the jaded company being utterly fed up by this point.
 
Congress Theatre, Tue 16 - Sat 20th Apr, 19:30.
Thu and Sat matinees, 14:30.
Tickets various prices, available online, by calling 01323 412000 or in person at the Box Office and the Tourist Information Office.

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