Monday, November 15, 2010

Noises Off -Review- Whitley Bay Playhouse

Noises Off.
Whitley Bay Theatre Company.
Whitley Bay Playhouse.

Everybody loves a farce and an 'award winning' one at that, so says the programme accompanying this performance of Michael  Frayn's 'Noises Off'.
Noises Off is the proverbial 'play within a play' and we are treated to stage play of 'Nothing On' a sexy farce incorporating the mad cap lives of a tax exile couple, an estate agent with his lustful client, the housekeeper, a plate of sardines and a few burglars for good measures....ooh and of course the 'near' breakdown of the director.
 This is all staged in 3 acts. The first being a final dress rehearsal and all goes well until Dotty the housekeeper forgets the placement of the sardines- so the director steps in ...or sits in rather, as this is the special and quirky part of the show as he is actually in our audience. He shouts and swears his authority, it is clear that he and the cast have their differences. Much dialogue takes place to a semi successful conclusion of the act.
An interval takes place to allow act 2 to start. This time we are behind the scenes, what goes on in the wings, the nerves and the attitudes. We can now get a feel of why the cast and director are at loggerheads with each other, lots of mania, silly and funny situation takes place.
Act 3 starts up with the actual play, this time though with a lot more mania attached to it, with us knowing why things are going wrong with hilarious consequences.

Noises Off is one of the funniest and brilliantly acted plays I have ever seen! Every performer worked extremely hard and certainly toiled away for their art.
I have no idea how director David Swinton must have coped with all of the franticness of it all, but I take my hat off to him, he has done a fantastic job in putting it all together.
The stage set is a marvel in itself. The whole viewing area having to be lifted to reverse the positioning of 'us' the audience. All done quickly and cleverly. I also give a worthy mention to the Technical team who switched mic sounds seamlessly with great effects.
The whole thing was just perfect and I wished I could have seen it again to appreciate it more. The audience reaped all of this technical wizardry and brought about shrieks of laughter and beaming smiles.
Whitley Bay Theatre Company have invested a lot of time and effort to bring Noises Off to the stage and it was an unmitigated success.
Dianne Legg, Elizabeth Purcell, George Knox, Jenny McGuire, Dale Jewitt, James Mitchinson, Malcolm Brown, Wayne Madden and Wendy Thompson must be seriously proud of their skills on show. If all actors and the production of future WBTC shows are half as good, then the amateur trappings are in good hands.

Michael Hunter

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