Douglas Mayo reviews the Lyric Hammersmith’s production of Noises Off which has transferred to the Garrick Theatre, London.
4 October 2019
For some reason or another, I always seem to miss Noises Off when it is revived on stage. I’ve lost count of the number of productions that past right by me. Luckily for me, it is revived often and revisited by fans far more times than they would probably care to admit.
Tonight I found out why, Noises Off is comedy gold, a farce with all the pre-requisites so beautifully constructed by Frayn and with a sterling ensemble cast whose timing and physical comedy skills should have the Department Of Health posting large warning signs around the venue reminding audiences “Not To Forget To Breath”. I witnessed patrons red of face, on the verge of hyperventilating from laughter, I myself laughed so much my ribs hurt and I left the theatre with seismic hiccups from the aforementioned forgetting to breathe.
Pre-dating The Play That Goes Wrong and the modern One Man, Two Guvnor’s (Richard Bean’s incredible adaptation, not the original Goldini). Noises Off follows a disastrous production of a farce called Nothing On, first from and audience perspective and later watching backstage as the exact same scene is played out.
Jeremy Herrin’s production is perfectly paced with impeccable movement direction by Joyce Henderson and fight direction by Rachel Cooper-Brown. Herrin has assembled a superb ensemble cast who spectacularly implode against a cacophony of slamming doors and plates and plates of Sardines.
Sarah Hadland, Richard Henders, Lisa McGrillis, Anjii Mohindra, Lloyd Owen, Adrian Richards, Daniel Rigby, Simon Rouse and Meera Syal must be physically exhausted after creating the level of energy on stage at the Garrick Theatre. It’s a joy to watch, a pleasure that I intend to enjoy again and an experience that I cannot recommend highly enough. Just don’t forget to breathe!