(Michael Billington’s article appeared in the Guardian, 12/13.)

Michael Frayn must have the subtlest mind ever applied to the writing of farce. And with Noises Off, first seen in 1982 and now gloriously revived, he has created not just a flawless theatrical mechanism. In his portrait of a slowly disintegrating stage production, Frayn reminds us that beneath the order we seek to impose on our own daily lives lurks a terrifying abyss.

But it would not do to get too solemn about such a riotous event. What one does notice is that Frayn prepares the ground perfectly, by recreating the final rehearsal of one of those basic British farces he doubtless saw as a young reporter.


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