Noises Off-stage have Nothing On theatre farce

Noises Off

Noises Off - Credit: Archant

Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of a play? The Company of Ten will be demonstrating precisely that with their production of Michael Frayn’s farce Noises Off.

one of English theatre’s most celebrated examples of a play within a play – or, more specifically, a farce within a farce- it was first performed in 1982 and has won multiple awards.

It follows a group of actors as they put on a touring production of a terrible farce called Nothing On, complete with half-dressed women, men dropping their trousers, slamming doors and multiple plates of sardines.

Each of the real play’s three acts contains a performance of the first act of the fictional show: Act One takes place at the dress rehearsal, where the actors show themselves to be hopelessly ill-prepared; Act Two is set backstage during a shambolic public performance about a month into the run and Act Three shows a final catastrophic performance towards the end of the run.

Director Susan Russell-Curtis said Noises Off worked both as a clever satire of theatrical tradition and a polished piece of theatre in its own right.

Staging the play has posed some exciting challenges, she added. “The designer, constructors and crew have had to provide us with not just a two-storey set with multiple doors, but a two-storey set that is double-sided and can be moved around very quickly.”

Performances take place on the Abbey Theatre Main Stage in St Albans from 8pm next Friday and Saturday, May 8 and 9, at 2.30pm on Sunday, May 10, and again at 8pm from Tuesday, May 12, to Saturday, May 16.

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To book tickets go to or call the box office on 01727 857861.