What better way to celebrate its 5th Birthday than for Next Stage to give its many supporters the chance to see 'the funniest farce of modern theatre'? Next Stage loves a challenge and there can be few more demanding plays for actors, directors and crew than "Noises Off".
In this hilarious play by Michael Frayn a second rate troupe of theatricals is opening in Weston-super-Mare with a standard slap-and-tickle farce, "Nothing On". We follow the fortunes of the company through disintegration in Goole to absolute disaster in Stockton-on-Tees.
Act I shows the last-minute Dress Rehearsal, with the tangled web of relationship between the players cleverly woven. Act II is behind the scenes during a matinee performance a month later, with the director's romancing causing turmoil and the cast riven with lovers' tiffs. By Act III even the old "pro"s in the company have given up!
But this play by one of our leading modern playwrights - Frayn has two highly acclaimed productions currently running in the West End - is not a simple farce, it is a farce within a farce. Act I concentrates on verbal fireworks. Act II gives us visual delights and the third Act skilfully blends words and actions in a frenzied finale. The play demands split-second timing and superb ensemble playing - both qualities for while Next Stage is renowned. Director Ann Garner, the company's Artistic Director, has assembled a supremely talented cast for this flagship production - each actor has either won or been nominated for an individual or group Rose Bowl Award. And since this is Next Stage, there are bound to be some surprises. In this stylish production it's not the set that revolves 180 degrees for Act II, it's the audience! Come to the only production you are likely to see where you get a "backstage tour" as part of the play!