Noises Off – Play by Michael Frayn

NoiseoffjuneposterClonmel Theatre Guild is celebrating its 45th anniversary by staging what is commonly thought of as the funniest play ever written in the White Memorial Theatre, Clonmel from 11th to 13th June.

Michael Frayn’s Noises Off is, according to Pat Kenny – who recently interviewed Michael Frayn on his News Talk radio programme, the funniest play he has ever seen. Noises Off tells the story of a third-rate theatre company who are putting on a fictional British romping farce, called “Nothing On”. So, Noises Off is a ‘play-within-a-play’ where all of the disasters that can happen in live theatre, do happen. From second-guessing the director, to forgetting lines and cues, to issues with props and doors that won’t open when they should open, or close when they should close, Noises Off is a hilarious portrayal of what can go wrong – both on stage, and behind the scenes.

Noises Off starts during the dress rehearsal, on the night before opening night, and reveals a cast and set who might not be quite ready to perform. As they do their last rehearsal of the fictional “Nothing On” the hilarity begins in earnest. In the second act (set about a month into the tour of “Nothing On”) the audience are treated to a rare view of what it can be like behind the scenes as the play is being performed. The set is rotated so that the audience view this act entirely from backstage. The antics of the cast as they try to keep everything together, despite fraying relationships and technical issues, are comedic farce at its best. In the final act, after several months on the road together, the actors are burnt out, but trying to keep the show going. Sort of! The comedic catastrophe which ensues is laugh-out-loud funny and bound to have the audience rolling in the aisles.

Noises Off is farce at its best and for anyone who has ever been involved in theatre, either on stage, or behind it, it is bound to bring back some hilarious memories.

Noises Off was staged by Clonmel Theatre Guild at the White Memorial Theatre in March 2001 (directed by Michael Pollard) and featured the late Brendan Long in one of his most memorable roles as Selsdon Mowbray. This production sees the return of some of the original cast members, including Esther Byrne, Edmond Ryan and James Whelan. Joining them for this production are Jim Malone, Suzanne Dunne, Patricia Harte, Paul Kelly, Colum Dunne and Kate O’Mahony. Noises Off will be directed by James Whelan and produced by Adrienne Small.

This is one play you certainly do not want to miss. Tickets can be purchased online or in Marian’s Bookshop, O’Connell Street, Clonmel. A contribution from the raffle will be made to St Vincent de Paul.

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