Planning to make a big Noise with Frayn farce as Hitchin’s Bancroft Players turn 70

Rehearsals for Noises Off at the Queen Mother theatre

Rehearsals for Noises Off at the Queen Mother theatre - Credit: Archant

Working flat out on the flats as they configure the complicated staging of their next big production, members of Hitchin’s Bancroft Players are determined to start their new season with a bang.

Noises Off at the Queen Mother Theatre, Hitchin

Noises Off at the Queen Mother Theatre, Hitchin - Credit: Archant

They’ve chosen an evergreen offering to kick off the company’s 70th year.

Michael Frayn’s Noises Off is often described as the funniest play ever written – but this theatre-set farce is full of challenges.

It has been regularly revived since it was first staged in 1982, winning a string of awards for its first run, and the latest production will be at the Queen Mother Theatre in Walsworth Road from Friday, September 18, through to the following Saturday, September 26.

The play – which was served up on the big screen in a 1992 version starring Michael Caine, Superman actor Christopher Reeve and Broadway legend Carol Burnett among others – follows the backstage antics of a theatre touring company as they stumble their way through rehearsals of a new farce called Nothing On, endure a shambolic first night and continue on to a disastrous final show.

Rehearsals for Noises Off at the Queen Mother theatre

Rehearsals for Noises Off at the Queen Mother theatre - Credit: Archant


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Director David Lester said: “With Noises Off the audience gets two plays for the price of one and twice the laughter.

“Michael Frayn has crafted a masterful script in which the audience witnesses behind the scenes shenanigans while the actors desperately try to keep the show on the road.”

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Frayn himself was inspired as he watched from the wings during a performance of a farce he had written for Lynn Redgrave. He said: “It was funnier from behind than in front, and I thought that one day I must write a farce from behind.”

He first came up with a one-act play called Exits, and then developed that into Noises Off, which starred Patricia Routledge and the late Paul Eddington in its first theatrical performance.

Rehearsals for Noises Off at the Queen Mother theatre

Rehearsals for Noises Off at the Queen Mother theatre - Credit: Archant

You can book your ticket now via the theatre’s upgraded ‘select-your-seat’ website at www.qmt.org.uk.

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