NOISES OFF to Play Bridewell in October

By: Sep. 02, 2015
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Michael Frayn's riotous backstage farce Noises Off will have a short run in central London this autumn, thanks to the City's premier amateur theatre company, Sedos. Noises Off plays from 15-24 October at the Bridewell, just off Fleet Street, where Sedos is the resident theatre company.

The show lifts the curtain on the backstage drama of a touring theatre company as they stumble their way through rehearsals to a shambolic first night and a final disastrous performance. It's a world where doors get stuck, sardines go missing, actors become glued to props, scantily-clad women search for lost bags and lines are dropped nearly as frequently as the leading man's trousers.

Noises Off was first performed in 1982 starring Patricia Routledge and Paul Eddington. In a testament to its enduring popularity, it has been put on numerous times since, including a 2000 revival at the National Theatre with Patricia Hodge and Peter Egan. In the most recent professional production, at the Old Vic in 2011, Celia Imrie and Robert Glenister headed up the cast.

"I first remember seeing an amateur production of Noises Off when I was in my mid-teens and thinking that it was the funniest play I'd ever seen," says director Matt Gould. "Even then, I was heavily involved backstage in theatres and I remember watching things go wrong both from a technical point of view, as well as the cast relationships being so close to the real amateur world, was so funny that I just couldn't stop laughing."

Noises Off provides tough challenges for the director and cast as they create both the characters of the real actors who populate the show and the roles they take in the play within the play, Nothing On. And the virtually silent 20-minute mime of Act Two, as the audience watch the show from backstage, is renowned for its difficulty.

"I have wanted to direct this play for many years - but have only recently plucked up the courage," admits Matt. "But rehearsals have been a blast - I don't remember ever laughing as much! It really is true that what goes on the rehearsal room is often far more entertaining that the end product - and Michael Frayn has captured that so well in Noises Off.

"Hopefully the audience will have the same experience that I did the first time I saw the play - that they will go home and think that it was the funniest night that they've ever had at the theatre."

The show also demands a great deal of the production team, who must create a set which turns to allow the audience to see both the front and back of it. Set designer Steven King also worked with Matt on the acclaimed set for last year's Sedos production of Into the Woods, which won the Shinfield Players Scenic Award from the National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA).

Photo by David Ovenden



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