Hugh Parker plays Freddie Fellowes in Noises Off and Phillip Brent in Nothing On..
What makes Noises Off such an iconic play?
It stands the test of time and of being produced so much. It’s accessible and openly entertaining for the sake of it. I love going to the theatre or movies to learn and immerse myself, but sometimes enjoying communal laughter and a common experience is its own reward..
What do you LOVE and what do you LOATHE about performing in a farce?
I love the payoffs and feelings of satisfaction when the laughs come because all the timings have worked. At times. I loathed the repetition and repetition and repetition to ensure these payoffs happened.
What is your favourite line in the play (it doesn’t have to be your own)?
Nicki Wendt says ‘In the pigeonhouse?’ in Act 3. She repeats it to Dotty when she says it to her. But Nicki says it back to her in her cod Cockney accent. It’s a great, subtle way to put Dotty down in her war of affection for Freddie.
What are you most looking forward to about bringing this show to Melbourne audiences?
Different audiences have different reactions. It will almost feel like reinventing the production when we transpose it to a new environment.
What makes Sam Strong a great director?
Sam is detailed but allows a sense of play and exploration. He said at the outset of rehearsals that the process would be a balance between fulfilling Frayn’s text and of us, as a group, finding the funniest version of what we offer. I particularly enjoy being given a long leash of experimenting before locking choices down. Sam facilitated this and I truly welcomed that approach.
What do you like about performing/working on a co-production between two state theatre companies?
The cheeky answer is per diems. The reality is that it knocks you out of your comfort zone a little. It keeps you on your toes. It’s also like a first date, you try to impress a little more. And the per diems help.
Can you tell us three highlights from the Noises Off season so far?
1. Meeting and working with the Melbourne guys.
2. Improvising at the subscribers evening at QT so that Russel Goldsmith could record genuine audience laughter reaction for the onstage soundtrack in Act 2.
3. Eyeliner and mascara when I go on as Freddie.
Noises Off plays at Arts Centre Melbourne from 8 July.