Friday, 30 March 2012

GBR Occasional Mid-Week Show Review - Noises Off

Blurry poster. Soz.
Time for the next short instalment of the GBR Occasional Mid-Week Show Review (I know you’ve been waiting for this, don’t pretend you haven’t).

Last night saw the third instalment of my resolution to watch more shows this year. It’s the first one I didn’t pick myself, my wife taking the risk of introducing me and a couple of our friends to something new. Well, I say new, it was Noises Off. It’s a show that’s been done for years, but only recently returned to the West End.

It’s comedy farce. Huge amounts of slapstick timing, double entendres, misunderstandings, and physical comedy. Nothing massively new, sure, but it doesn’t need to be. Take an old genre or concept and do it well, and you can end up with something brilliant.

And this was. The characters are huge cartoons, performed with confidence and commitment. They’re packed with personality quirks that build and get funnier as the show goes on, introduced at exactly the right times for maximum effect.

The danger with farce is that it can get boring, I think. It can all be laid out in the first ten minutes, and then slip into repetitiveness. Not here though. The tempo built slowly but surely to a breathless crescendo at the end.

Downsides? Not many to be honest. There was a lot going on at all corners of the stage, so I felt as if I missed some of the funny in places. But can I criticize a show for packing too much in? Frankly, it just makes me want to go back and see it again so I can try and pick up more of the action.

Also, despite watching this from start to end, and talking about it much of the way home, I still can’t figure out why this is called Noises Off. I’m probably being dumb. There’s probably a pretty obvious reason. But again, criticize a show for an opaque name? Nope, not going to do that. Ignore this last paragraph.

I enjoyed this, a lot. If you get a chance, go see it.

Now, what show to see next in my “year of shows”? Think I’m going to rely on a recommendation for the next go. Seemed to work out this time out.


Emma said...

Wikipedia reliably informs me that Noises Off takes its title "from the theatrical stage direction indicating sounds that are meant to originate offstage".

Gav Collins said...

Good to know. Every day is a school day!