Classic comedy by the seaside

St Edmund's Hall, Southwold.

St Edmund's Hall, Southwold. - Credit: EDP pics © 2003

One of the country’s most popular comedy plays starts it run at Southwold Summer Theatre on Monday.

Noises Off by Michael Frayn is being shown at St Edmund’s Hall, Southwold from August 4 to 16 before transferring to Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh, from August 19 to 23.

In 2013, English Touring Theatre ran a poll to determine which is Britain’s all-time favourite play.

Second to Alan Bennett’s History Boys came Noises Off – Michael Frayn’s farce-within-a-farce which, like Taking Steps presents huge challenges in term of its staging.

We first find the ensemble cast of Nothing On – a traditional 1970s farce – at a frenetic final dress rehearsal before they embark on a tour of the provinces.

By the second act, the relationships between the cast members are beginning to break down and we see the backstage shenanigens going on during a mid-tour performance.

The third act takes place in the final week of the run when the ensemble has broken down into a pack of individuals fighting for supremacy. The laughter comes thick and fast and it is so memorable that there is no surprise in it scoring so highly in the poll.

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Michael Frayn has written many novels, plays, translations and non-fiction works but this, the consummate satire on theatre, is his best known.

• For tickets and further information contact Southwold and Aldeburgh Summer Theatre box office, telephone 01502 722572.