Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Noises Off

...standing beside the theatre review...
“I am going to the theatre tonight to see Noises Off,” I announced this morning.

“I am not going with you unless there are good treats,” Duncan said.

“Actually, I am not inviting anyone to go with me. I was just telling people what I am doing tonight,” I laughed.

His shoulders slumped and he said again, “I am not going with you unless there are good treats.”

“There are always good treats when I go.  That is what a night at the theatre is about.  But I am not asking anyone to come with me. Joining me is absolutely voluntary. No pressure.  I am just telling people what I am going to do for fun.”

... the lobby of the Novella ...
That is how I got my theatre companion for tonight’s show.

When I went to the theatre in the morning to see if I could get seats, I walked into the lobby up 8 wide stairs.

A man was sitting on the carpet and shining the brass edging of the steps with polish and a soft cloth.

Really shinning them, as though the Queen were coming tonight. She wasn’t, but between the elbow grease I saw him putting on the stair trip, and my chance to remember what the lobby of the Novella Theatre looks like when I purchased the tickets, I knew the stage was set for a fine evening.

The theatre review that is posted outside of the doors has the critic saying, “I hope you will forgive the fact that I won’t be writing much about this play, for when I try to start writing, I begin to laugh and can’t get at the work of writing the review.” The critic likened the comedy to that found in One Man, Two Govnors, saying that he thought Noises Off might top the former.

...inside the theatre, before descending to the stalls...
Duncan and I agree – if not better at least a tie. 

At one point the protagonist’s shoe laces are tied together while he is waiting to go on stage and then he falls on.  Then for the next five minutes  he hops around because he has no time to untie them.  When our hero hopped up flights of stairs, two at a time with his shoe laces tied, Duncan was about crying from laughing.

By the last act, both of us were gasping for air, and on the way home we agreed that telling someone the story line wouldn’t really get at the fine comedy we had seen: lost props, missed cues, shoe-laces tied together, a farce about comedies... well worth the price of the ticket, just to walk up the stairs of a theatre with beautifully shined brass-trimmed stairs and handrails.

The Novella is among the top favorites of my West End theatres.

... close-up of a treat bag as we start to unwrap the treats
so as not to disturb the performers..
Duncan has seen two shows this week: Rock of Ages with his dad, and now this show with me. I invited him to come along to a repeat of Billy Elliot with me tomorrow night.

He respectfully passed but who knows what he will tell me tomorrow when I am ready to go get the tickets.



  1. Oh the sneaky enjoyable aunts I have!

  2. Hi Tonia,

    Believe it or not ... I was going alone. Steve asked me this morning if the show really was as funny as One Man, Two Guvnors. Owain Arthur is a show all by himself. And he is backed up by other great actors with fabulous mime skills, ie the 71 year old waiter who keeps falling down stairs.


    On the other hand the performers in _Noises Off_ are equally as brilliant and there are more of them.

    Samuel Johnson said it best:

    "Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No,
    Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all ...."

  3. I would love to go see Billy Elliot again, and this show sounds wonderful as well. The snacks look delicious as well.

    1. Hi Michelle,

      Arta here -- signed in on Kelvin's account.

      I had forgotten that you might have seen Billy Elliot. Of course, you and Adam were in London together.

      The seats were the right price -- I didn't know that the Victoria Theatre had this perk. Front row -- only 20 pounds.

      I still have in my mind that last scene, when the curtain has come down, and then risen again as the dancers to a reprise for us. At one point all of them dance across the stage and give a high five to the 12 year old who has performed the Billy Elliot part fot the night. The joy and happiness in the face of the seasoned performers as they gave that congratulatory "hand-shake" to that young dancer was amazing. I felt like a peeping-Tom on a sacred moment from all of them to him.

      As well, I got to watch the conductor, since I was on the front row and his profile was to my life and in full view. At the same time, he was giving a thumbs up to the musicians in his pit. I thought he would hold the last chord for longer than he did. But it was only a second long and then he cut them off ... and suddenly this silence alongside what had been a deafening last sound.

      So? If we are ever in London together ... yes, back to Billy Elliot for both us.


  4. Kelvin Sr. June 21 + 82 minutes

    It's next to impossible to share the humour of the comedy. It must be experienced personally; but your Blogs are the next best thing to being there. Since we have both experienced a comedy we agree was the funniest to that point, I am determined to see "..Noises.." if the opportunity comes along!

    I love it that you have this thing going with Duncan. I have this thing with Grieving: Sharon's two best friends: Glenda (Johnson)'s husband John, and Patty (Johnson) herself, my cousin Bruce's sister. When I called to tell my Barnwell siblings that Sharon was in the hospital, Virginia told me of another who died while Molly and Nadiene were at one funeral and Bev at the other. I can hardly wait for your lively return. Love to all there.


    Re your comment that many of your friends are dying. Yes. As you said on the phone, the list of your old friends who are still alive is thining out.

    I don't know if that can be constructed as, "it sucks to be last", or if in this context, being last is good.

    I have one thing to say about seeing many of the performances from the National Theatre. What strikes me the most is how lucky we are at home to have The National Theatre Live in HD. Already you and I have seen many of the productions, right from the comfort of a movie theatre near to us.

    I am always struck by the fact that we didn't have to fly to London, but only have to plan to get ourselves to the theatre when the showings are on. I think between National Theatre Live in HD and The Met in HD, a person could run a full entertainment agenda and never leave their own city. When I had dreams as a child, this is one dream I would not have been able to imagine.

    Mary and Leo told me that they were going to see the repeat of the National Theatre's _Frankenstein_ last night ... in Aylmer, Ontario.

    I rest my case. Fantastic theatre at a person's doorstep, just for the taking.

    Not for everyone of course, but a joy for those who like to get out at night (or Saturday mornings, as the case may be).