Reviews are coming in from London theatre critics for Michael Frayn’s Noises Off at the Phoenix Theatre.
Directed by Lindsay Posner (God of Carnage, Hay Fever), this hilarious farce features an all-star cast including Felicity Kendal (The Good Life, Relatively Speaking and Hay Fever) as Dotty Otley, stage and screen actors Tracy-Ann Oberman (EastEnders, Friday Night Dinner) as Belinda Blair, Matthew Kelly (The Dresser, Waiting For Godot) as Selsdon Mowbray, and Jonathan Coy (Relatively Speaking) as Fredrick Fellows.
Other cast include Alexander Hanson as Lloyd Dallas, Joseph Millson as Garry Lejeune, Sasha Frost as Brooke Ashton, Pepter Lunkhuse as Poppy Norton Taylor, and Hubert Burton as Tim.
Frequently hailed as one of the best comedies ever written, this new production of Noises Off celebrates the play’s 40th anniversary, and follows the on and off-stage antics of a touring theatre company as they stumble their way through the fictional farce.
Joining Lindsay Posner in the creative team are Simon Higlett (Designer), Paul Pyant (Lighting Designer), Greg Clarke (Sound Designer), Will Stuart (Composer), Ruth Cooper-Brown (Movement and Fight Director), George Jibson (Associate Director), Ginny Schiller (Casting Director).
Noises Off is running at the Phoenix Theatre until 11 March 2023.
See reviews from the Evening Standard, The Times, i News and more. More reviews to follow.
Book Noises Off tickets at the Phoenix Theatre in London
Noises Off reviews
"Meticulously plotted and as blissfully funny as ever"
"This peerless farce-within-a-farce has lost none of its freshness"
"Forty-one years on, Michael Frayn’s peerless farce-within-a-farce is still guaranteed to leave an audience breathless with laughter, even though it has long outlived the sex comedies it set out to spoof in 1982. It’s meticulously plotted, remorselessly funny, and always feels fresh: last night, the jokes about tax dodging landed particularly soundly."
"... mostly Noises Off is just blissfully, brilliantly funny. Kendal is well cast and robustly hilarious, if slightly OTT, in her jittery mannerisms and disapproving pouts, as ageing sitcom darling Dotty Otley, who’s staked her savings on the play."
"Frayn’s immortal farce is an antidote to winter gloom"
"... even if sinking into the door-slamming, trouser-dropping netherworld of a play that satirises and celebrates the conventions of farce feels like the fastest possible way to defang the real world, shouldn’t we be finding other comedies to revive?
"Oh, but then you see it and remember that Noises Off remains as reliable an engine of joy as there is on the British stage. Not least when rendered with the precision wallop that the director Lindsay Posner offers in what is as good a revival as I’ve seen of one of the funniest, most cannily structured plays in the canon."
"It calls for acting larger-than-life and inch-perfect. It gets it. Kendal knows just how to make big comic conceits feel easy as pie, even if here and there she needs more volume; Jonathan Coy is expertly endearing as the oversensitive Freddie; Alexander Hanson is an adroit mix of straight man and shit as the philandering director; Oberman artfully mixes the flamboyant and the team player as the leading lady, Belinda; Kelly is a fairground ride of genial obliviousness as the thirsty old-timer Selsdon."
"Michael Frayn’s masterpiece of meta-comedy doesn’t hit the comedy high notes"
"... this 40th-anniversary production of Michael Frayn’s play-within-a-play Noises Off, which ushers us backstage as Nothing On descends into mayhem, doesn’t quite have it."
"Maybe it was first-night jitters. Or perhaps it’s because this production goes for rather more pathos than you expect."
"Yet there are still lots of laughs in this latest go-round for Frayn’s flawlessly constructed meta-comedy, which takes a pop at almost every aspect of theatre itself."
"Michael Frayn’s farce is as sublimely funny as ever"
"The play following a rackety company of actors from final dress rehearsal to final performance is a guaranteed spirit-lifter in these dark days of the year"
"Noises Off is the gift that keeps on giving. Now enjoying its 40th anniversary production, Michael Frayn’s cherishable farce following a rackety company of actors from final dress rehearsal to final performance is one of theatre’s most reliable treats and a guaranteed spirit-lifter in these dark days of the year."
"If Lindsay Posner’s current production isn’t quite as sharp as his delectable 2011 version, which premiered at the Old Vic before a West End transfer, then no matter. With a script as precision-honed as this, waves of laughter are inevitable and unstoppable."
"The perfect, subtly infernal foil for the winter blues"
"Felicity Kendal heads a star cast in this hilarious revival of Michael Frayn's evergreen, pungent farce"
"The laugh-o-meter isn’t pushed to breaking-point these days – we’re more restrained, and the mocking of such a hoary genre matters less. But the long-running author (90 this autumn) must still have been gratified at the London opening night for Lindsay Posner’s anniversary revival by the rounds of titters, guffaws, and belly-laughs – indulgent affection and nostalgia only partially feeding that."
"La Kendal wins particular admiration for the way, as Dotty, she seems simultaneously pensive, focused and staringly absent – and dodders splendidly, complete with wayward accent, as the Mrs Clackett, housekeeper of the play within the play. This is a superior revival to the one seen in 2019, with a sense – spurred by the pandemic? – of top-rank stage-actors relishing the deranging peculiarity of their profession."
" Act II, when we see the panic and calamities backstage, can be the stuff of genius. So it proves in Lindsay Posner’s 40th anniversary version. The start and finish are OK. The middle is bliss."
"Joseph Millson introduces skilful frenzy as the play’s leading man and pulls off some superb pratfalls, skidding on a dropped sardine and whacking his head after a staircase tumble. Sasha Frost provides that glamour every farce demands."
"It's comedy with the precision of a high end cuckoo clock"
"... as a bravura piece of comic plotting, Michael Frayn's vintage farce — now in the West End starring Felicity Kendal, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Alexander Hanson and Matthew Kelly — is right up there with Fawlty Towers. Nor does Lindsay Posner's clockwork production hide its homage, thanks to music between acts that is strongly reminiscent of the TV show's theme tune."
"At times, you have to concentrate so hard on the madcap yarn about a calamitous 1970s touring comedy, you can forget to laugh."
"The turn of the night, though, belongs to Joseph Millson, whose stage character — a suburban estate agent — is hoping to use the country manor setting as a love nest."
"It's a masterclass of physical comedy, risking injury as he tumbles down stairs — think of Mr Bean and Basil Fawlty rolled into one. So, while the ancient farce creaks, Millson makes sure it also crackles."