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.

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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.

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