NOISES OFFLADS at The Tractor Shed, Latchingdon
Michael Frayn's backstage drama is still the best of the Show Goes Wrong genre.
And it's given a welcome revival this week in the unlikely setting of the Latchingdon Tractor Shed, a venue probably not on the OtStar Productions tour list …
A complex set, with all those essential doors, many of them on a raised level; it all spins round to reveal prompt corner and the wings, and is trundled back again, in full view, for the disastrous last act. Bravo !
It's a difficult play, even for the most seasoned pros. We saw the [postponed] first night, which would be the first audience preview, weeks before opening, in the real world. So there were some hiccups and hiatuses.
Nonetheless, much to amuse, and some fine farcical performances: Daniel Tunbridge as the harassed director, and Aimee Hart as the dozy ingénue, catching the style of the Whitehall farce very impressively.
Reliable character support from David Hudson as the whisky-fuelled reprobate Selsdon, and Joan Cooper as Dotty Otley, typecast again as the cheerful char.
Adam Hart makes an athletic Garry, Moir Gunfield gives a lively, confident Belinda, with Alan Elkins her on-stage husband. The “Nothing On” company is completed by Vicci Rayner as the hard-pressed ASM, and Aaron Gardner as the jack-of-all trades Company Manager.
Carole Hart's production, a considerable achievement for a village society, has many enjoyable comedy moments, many of them physical: the tumbles, the wordless wrestling behind the scenes, and the glorious moment when Poppy drops her bombshell at the end of Act Two. “And curtain!”
production photograph: Keith Spencer