Following a hugely popular Brisbane season, Melbourne Theatre Company and Queensland Theatre’s co-production of Noises Off will ignite even the chilliest of winter days and have audiences in stitches when it opens on Wednesday 12 July at Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse.
Michael Frayn’s Noises Off is a comedy of epic proportions – a rollicking backstage farce that many say is the funniest play ever written.
To tackle this theatrical classic with rapid-fire precision, director Sam Strong (Jasper Jones, The Speechmaker) has brought together a superbly versatile ensemble cast including Simon Burke AO (The Sound of Music), Ray Chong Nee (Othello), Emily Goddard (Elling), Libby Munro (Disgraced, QTC season), Hugh Parker (The Seagull), James Saunders (Ganesh Versus the Third Reich), Louise Siversen (True Minds), Steven Tandy (Happy Days), and Nicki Wendt (The Ex-PM).
Sam Strong said, ‘Noises Off has been a guilty pleasure for audiences for decades. It’s a shamelessly entertaining night out, the quintessential workplace comedy that hilariously shows how the best intentions of any enterprise are undone by our all too human foibles. Noises Off is also a guilty pleasure for artists. This is the ensemble comedy par excellence, a Swiss watch of farcical construction that ensures everyone involved (actors and audiences) has a ridiculous amount of fun. I’ve assembled a crack team of the country’s finest comic actors and we can’t wait to share our take on the mayhem of Noises Off with Melbourne audiences.’
It’s after midnight and the touring company for a new play, Nothing On, struggles through a final dress rehearsal, unprepared for an opening night that is only hours away. Actors forget lines and where to put their props, stage managers battle mounting disasters, and the director is driven to hair-pulling exasperation. And while all seems shambolic now, just remember the theatrical motto: ‘It’ll be all right on the night!’ Well, in this case, maybe not.
Sam Strong is the Artistic Director of Queensland Theatre, a role he took up in late 2015 after three years as Associate Artistic Director at MTC and, previously, three years as Artistic Director at Griffin Theatre in Sydney. He has been nominated for multiple Best Director and Best Production awards at the Helpmann Awards, Sydney Theatre Awards and Green Room Awards, and in 2013 won the Sydney Theatre Award for Best Direction of a Mainstage Play. His directing credits include Jasper Jones, Double Indemnity, The Weir, Endgame, The Sublime, The Speechmaker, Private Lives, The Crucible, Other Desert Cities and Madagascar (MTC); Once in Royal David’s City (Queensland Theatre/Black Swan State Theatre Company), Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Sydney Theatre Company); Masquerade (Sydney Festival/Melbourne Festival/STCSA/Griffin); The Boys (Sydney Festival/Griffin); The Floating World, Between Two Waves, And No More Shall We Part and Speaking in Tongues (Griffin); The Power of Yes (Company B Belvoir); and Red Sky Morning and Faces in the Crowd (Red Stitch).
Multi award-winning British playwright, novelist and translator, Michael Frayn, has written sixteen plays of which Noises Off, Copenhagen and Democracy are perhaps best known. He has also translated a number of works from Russian, including plays by Chekhov and Tolstoy. Frayn’s eleven novels include The Tin Men, Towards the End of the Morning, Headlong, Spies and Skios. He has also published two works of philosophy, Constructions and The Human Touch; and a memoir, My Father’s Fortune. For the screen his work includes Clockwise, a comedy starring John Cleese; First and Last, for which he won an Emmy; and an adaptation of his 1991 novel A Landing on the Sun. His work has garnered much critical acclaim and he has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Whitbread Award for Best Novel and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (for Spies), the Critics Circle Theatre Award and Tony Award (Copenhagen) and numerous Laurence Olivier and London Evening Standard awards.
Cast Simon Burke, Ray Chong Nee, Emily Goddard, Libby Munro, Hugh Parker, James Saunders, Louise Siversen, Steven Tandy, Nicki Wendt
Set & Costume Designer
Associate Director & Voice Coach
8 July – 12 August
Wednesday 12 July, 8pm
Arts Centre Melbourne,
03 8688 0800
1300 182 18