Noises Off has become a staple of professional and amateur theatre both in the UK and the USA. In 1992, a film version of the play was made, directed by Peter Bogdanovich and starring Carol Burnett, Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve.
Performed by BATS at St. Teilo’s Church Hall, The Glebe, Bishopston on December 1st, 2nd, 7th, 8th and 9th, 2006. Tickets £4, senior citizens £3. See original poster advertisement.
The raffle held during production raised £323 for the Lawrence Roundabout Appeal. Thank you to all those who bought tickets!
Noises Off utilises the age-old concept of a play within a play, in this case a dreadful fourth-rate sex comedy, aptly entitled ‘Nothing On’, the kind of play in which young girls run about in their underwear, old men drop their trousers, different doors are wrenched open and slammed shut as people dash madly about without ever running into each other, and everyone gets caught in a compromising position in someone else’s bedroom.
‘Nothing On’ is touring the English provinces in a production mounted by director Lloyd Dallas and performed by a third-rate repertory company with a second-rate star, oldtimer Dotty Otley.
Act One focuses on the dress rehearsal, with the cast still fumbling with entrances and exits, missed cues, misspoken lines, and bothersome props (notably, a plate of sardines).
Act Two is opening night, but seen from backstage, providing a view that reveals the deteriorating personal relationships among the cast that have led to offstage shenanigans and onstage bedlam.
In Act Three, we see a performance well into the run, when everyone is bored and anxious to be done with it, and the actors attempt to cover a series of mishaps by making up the play as they go along. Much of the comedy emerges from the subtle variations in each version as off-stage chaos affects on-stage performance, with healthy doses of slapstick sprinkled throughout.
- Barry Cooper, with Denise Currell
- Barry Cooper
Cast (in order of appearance)
- ‘Dotty Otley’ ~ Carol Rood
- ‘Lloyd Dallas’ ~ Stewart Hiorns
- ‘Gary LeJeune’ ~ Jaimes Cooper
- ‘Brooke Ashton’ ~ Laura Sims
- ‘Poppy Norton-Taylor’ ~ Helen Gwiliam
- ‘Frederick Fellowes’ ~ Barry Cooper
- ‘Belinda Blair’ ~ Sian Cole
- ‘Tim Allgood’ ~ Tony Currell
- ‘Selsdon Mowbray’ ~ David Spear
- Stage Manager ~ Alan Bailey
- Assistants ~ Mike Turner, Malcolm Poole, Simon Ellett, Neil Chamberlain, Ian Evans
- Prompt ~ Ros Brace
- Props ~ Denise Currell, Julie Greenwood
- Costumes ~ Heather Cooper
- Hair & Make-up ~ Julie Greenwood, Joyce Childs
- Front-of-house, Refreshments ~ Dorothy Morris, Ian Evans, Heather Cooper, Keith Gwynne, David Spear, Maureen Bailey, Val Hiorns, Geoff Davies, Barbara Spear
Welcome to our production of ‘Noises Off’. In the programme for ‘Jane Eyre’, Denise wrote “I confirm that there is no truth in the rumour that the next production will be Ben Hur.” I think you may believe once you’ve seen ‘Noises Off’ that ‘Ben Hur’ might have been easier!!
With ‘Noises Off’ we have continued to perform more demanding plays. In this case the play should be performed on a much larger stage but I believe there is so much quality in the writing that we should still be able to give you all an entertaining evening. The cast have been asked to stretch themselves and have had to work extremely hard, and Alan (who has remained very excited about the project throughout) and his team have worked wonders with the set. I must also thank Denise who has assisted me with directing. Without this help we would have had to cancel the production.
A party of us drove to see ‘Noises Off’ at the Torch Theatre in Milford Haven in October to help our preparation for our own production. I’m not sure if we were encouraged or frightened by what we saw but it made us determined to put on the best possible production with our limited resources of both the stage and small acting pool.
‘Noises Off’ has been described as the funniest play of the last 20 years, so sit back and enjoy yourself!”