Noises Off at Theatre Royal Haymarket
Michael Frayn’s hilarious Noises Off is back with an unmissable cast.
Famous for being a play within a play, Noises Off begins with the cast of Nothing On as they rehearse their show. What follows is a ludicrous farce that has everyone wetting themselves with laughter, delivered by some of the absolute funniest people you’ll be ashamed you forgot about.
A lack of rehearsal time, various romantic flings going on between them and rising emotions blow up in the characters’ faces as they try to keep the production going. It’s told in three parts: the final rehearsal before the show opens, backstage during a performance and on stage for a completely catastrophic performance.
Felicity Kendal (The Good Life, Rosemary & Thyme), James Fleet (Vicar of Dibley, Four Weddings and a Funeral), Mathew Horne (Gavin & Stacey, Bad Education) and Tamzin Outhwaite (Eastenders, Hotel Babylon) take the stage, and the stage on the stage, to deliver the jokes like an overclocked machine gun. Physical and verbal punchlines are rapid-fire, giving the audience no time to recover.
On one hand, Frayn’s writing is so well crafted that it feels foolproof: surely any set of performers would have no trouble delivering a seriously good show with this script. But that’s not to say that this group isn’t something special to see.
By the time she’s uttered her first full line, it’s clear Kendal’s performance will be unforgettable. Fleet takes the role of Selsdon and makes it so very wonderfully James Fleet-y. And Horne rules the physical comedy bits so well you could watch him a thousand times and still not be able to stop laughing.
Director Lindsay Posner has honed this production to a flawless flurry of funny. There’s very little about this show that isn’t genuinely impressive and it all connects together for the most meticulously chaotic spectacle.
By every measure, Noises Off is the perfect comedy. And right now, it also happens to have a perfect cast. If you don’t like to laugh, don’t see this show. Otherwise, it’s a must.
Images: Nobby Clark
Noises Off is at Theatre Royal Haymarket from 28th September until 16th December 2023. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.