I sat at the Birmingham Rep flicking through my programme and I immediately knew I'd be laughing hysterically for the next two and a half hours... Inside the programme for "Noises Off" was a programme from the play within the play entitled "Nothing On". My prediction was correct; the rest of the evening I laughed my socks off at the slick slapstick, outragious acting and the rib tingling dialogue.
The play features a bunch of - erm amazing - actors getting ready to put on a farce. But as the play progresses, there's more drama backstage than in front of the scenery. Complete with a million entrances and exits of misconfusion, missing sardines and stage managers that have to understudy for alcoholic actors the script is a perfect recipe for disaster (in the play within the play... Not the actual play.)
There were some stand out performances, especially from the half naked Djalenga Scott who acts as the diva "Brooke" and spends half of her time half naked on the stage. Her energetic, charming and cute performance had the audience in fits of laughter as she pranced about the stage during her "Nothing On" performance and strutted and tutted during the "Noises Off" section... If that makes sense?
The set is clever, the play in the play takes place in a nice country home and with high walls, many doors and a grand staircase the set helps to keep the slapstick giggles flowing. Then, in Act Two, we see the play from backstage, at this point the audience gets a true feeling for what it feels like to be backstage at a theatre: swinging doors create much humour, rattling staircases create energy and fake walls that actors must "duck" behind in order for them to get from one side of the pretend stage to other creates much laughter, especially when the "duck" joke is carried on into the rest of the play (and the play within the play).
Overall, it was a wonderful night out: with a wonderful script, fabulous acting and an amazing feel good vibe, "Noises Off" makes for a perfect evening for anybody of any age and any interest.