Interview: Meet the team behind T24’s Noises Off



Photo: T24’s Noises Off Cast

As T24 hits out another amazing production this weekend, Dan Ramanayake interviews the team behind T24’s Noises Off…

Q. Tell us a bit about yourselves. What do you study at Kent Uni and what’s your role in the production?

Daniel: I am Daniel Hemming, a second year Drama and Theatre student. I am one of the co-directors of Noises Off along with Tom Brace.

Joe: I’m Joe Fort, an MA student in English and American Literature. This is my fourth year at Kent. In Noises Off I play the role of Lloyd, a frustrated director at the end of his tether.

Phoebe: I am a first year, studying Drama and Theatre studies at UKC and play the part of Poppy Norton-Taylor, assistant stage manager for Nothing’s On [the play within Noises Off].

Q. How did the process of auditioning go?

D: Our audition process was slightly odd to say the least. We had our lovely Production managers, Rachel and Nick, produce nonsense scripts. We then asked the actors to take risks and surprise us with what they could turn the script into…… it did get out of hand and in one audition a chair and a bin was broken!

Q. As actors, how do you feel about the play within a play format of Noises Off?

P: I think it makes it a funny experience, both for the actors and the audience, as it is so relatable. Everything that goes wrong in Noises Off could easily happen in any normal show – it’s just that they are all thrown together in one catastrophic production. As actors, the situations in Noises Off are our worst nightmares, and I enjoy the hilarity and irony of putting a spotlight on them.

Q. What kind of technical challenges does the play pose?

D: The play has numerous challenges. With the acting, Act 2 has a lot of slapstick and fast movement. Blocking and setting all the moves has been hard, but it looks great when done properly. The set is also a challenge, we’re creating a turning central flat in order for the change in staging for act 2.

Q. This is a highly acclaimed play and has been successful each time it was revived. Does that put some extra pressure on you?

D: Of course it does, but there are also some truly awful productions of Noises Off on YouTube to help take the pressure off.

Q. As I understand Michael Frayn rewrote and reworked the script quite a number of times. Which script version are you using for this production? Or is your adaptation different from the original?

D: We have been working from the Samuel French edition. We have stuck closely to the dialogue, but have altered intention and relationships slightly. The actors have had time to explore their characters and have influenced to shape and build the play. Myself and Tom see ourselves as ‘facilitators’ rather than directors.

Q. [To leads] What made you take part in this production?

J: It was the play-within-a-play aspect that excited me. Not only is this play a comedy, it is also an extremely ambitious one.

P: My favourite play is possibly The Play That Goes Wrong – I have never laughed so hard in my life, literally howling and crying with laughter. I knew Noises Off inspired that show, so I was excited to be involved in something just as hilarious. The audition process was fun which boded well for the rehearsals and final show.

Q. [To leads] How do you feel about your characters? Are they challenging? Especially the slapstick element of certain characters.

J: Lloyd has far less to do than some of the other characters. The slapstick is a challenge however. In my opinion slapstick is a horrendously underrated form of comedy. There is nothing funnier than watching someone sit on a cactus.

P: Poppy was quite difficult to establish at first, as she is the most downtrodden in the play, but I didn’t want her to appear completely spineless and introverted. Tom and Danny were extremely good with character development, so Poppy has now grown as a character. I’ve never done slapstick before so I have found that aspect challenging. This show relies heavily on exact timing in order for the slapstick and gags to have their full effect, so we have to know it inside out.

Q. This is a play satirizing the world of theatre. How does that make you feel?

D: For comedy to work, we have to laugh at ourselves, and if we can be centre stage and do that than even better. The quote we have worked by is ‘if farce involves watching the wheels come off a well-oiled machine, then nothing could be funnier than seeing the wheels fall off a farce itself’.

Q. Tell us a bit about the set design. As I understand the stage is transformed into a double-sided set during the play.

D: The idea is two flats either side, with a central flat on a raised platform, which rotates 180 degrees for Act 2 and back again for Act 3. It’s a challenge, and we are working out of a garage with limited tools and materials.

Q. What do you think about the play’s portrayal about the life of a theatre company?

D: Although exaggerated, it’s pretty accurate. It’s not all smooth sailing and mistakes happen, but only we know (we hope) and the audience are unaware. We all know a Belinda, or Garry. We’ve met our Brookes and Fredericks in our time. And if you don’t know these characters, come to the show, find out who they are and then you’ll know.

Q. [To leads] Have you had incidents similar to those in the play during your acting careers?

P: I have been in a show before where two of the leads had fallen out, which was a tense experience. But I can’t say I relate too much to Poppy’s character, who got her job through sleeping with the director (Lloyd).

J: There is a character in our play that keeps forgetting his lines and missing his cues. I directed Wind in the Willows once and the actor playing Mole always missed his cues. He also insisted on doing the most ridiculous northern accent you’ve ever heard. Nobody ever had a clue what he was saying. I think he did it to cover up the fact that he didn’t know his lines. I nearly killed him.

Q. [To leads] Do you have any rituals or theatrical superstitions?

J: No. I’ve never understood them. The Macbeth one is especially pretentious

P: Before I ever go on stage everyone I see has to wish me good luck. If no-one has, or if I haven’t heard it right before I go on stage, I get petrified that it isn’t going to go well. I make everyone say it to me. If they say ‘you don’t need luck, you’ll be fine’, I shout at them until they say it. It’s silly, I know.

Q. How have you found the experience of producing Noises Off so far?

D: Stressful, but very enjoyable. The cast have been a real pleasure and they all bring a different dynamic. I look forward to working with them again in the future…. Don’t know if they feel the same.

Q. What have you to say to all the theatre goers out there about your production?

P: Be prepared for big belly laughs, semi-nudity and FARCICAL FUN.


Noises Off is sold out, but if you fancy checking out another T24 production here’s their summer production list:

Much Ado About Nothing- Directed by Elliot Huxtable
Date: 9th & 10th June
Location: The Gulbenkian TheatreLadykillers- Directed by Duncan Mitchell
Date: 11th and 12th June
Location: Marlowe StudioAfter The End- Directed by Tabitha Porter
Date: TBCDracula- Directed by Amy Hendry
Date: TBCTis A Pity She’s A Whore- Directed by Fergus Macdonald
Date: TBCSpace Jesus- Directed by Jamie Harris, Issy Rawbone and Christopher Grace.
Date: TBC



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