Noises Off ★★★★ Phoenix Theatre | Jan 19 - Mar 11, 2023

Just in time to help us through the winter doldrums, Michael Frayn's comic masterpiece returns to the Phoenix Theatre. Noises Off which takes the audience behind the scenes of a farce to reveal the comedy that is real life is definitely a great tonic for a gloomy grey day, and this production is designed to lift everyone's spirits. In a farce, timing is everything and this show gets the frenetic pacing quite perfect. Just as we begin to savour one moment of madness another distracting disaster crops up. Director, Lindsay Posner, does an amazing job of keeping it all moving and unlike his harried counterpart, Alexander Hanson, who plays the exasperated director, Lloyd Dallas, Posner maintains amazing control of the mayhem. In contrast, we thoroughly enjoyed Hanson's seething as he gradually loses all power over the gaggle of acting stereotypes with whom he is faced. Felicity Kendal does a fine job as the forgetful Dotty and Tracy-Ann Oberman is a delight as the gossipy Belinda. The former's accent was a little difficult to penetrate at times, but the latter's hips spoke out clearly and hilariously. Sasha Frost is super as the underdressed and ever-distracted Brooke, and Jonathan Coy had us chuckling out loud at his need to understand his character's motivation. However for us, the standout had to be Joseph Millson as Garry. His physical comedy and over-the-top mugging recalled the great John Cleese. While the first act starts a little slowly, the second act is simply sublime. The mimed chaos caused backstage by the conflicting and confusing entanglements of the actors is absolutely inspired insanity. No matter how many times we see Frayn's classic, it always draws a laugh, but in this production it provokes the audience to howls of delight.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Nobby Clark.

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