This week Beth Atkinson spoke to the director and members of the cast of EUTCo’s second show of the term, “Noises Off”.
What has it been like working on “Noises Off”?
Alex Stenhouse (Director) – it’s probably been the most difficult project I’ve ever worked on. It’s such a complicated show but we’ve had a lot of fun with it.
James Bowen (cast)– yeah it’s been a thrilling journey. We’ve been working very hard. It’s split into three plays almost; it’s a lot to get through and memorise. Alex has been quite open from the beginning in trying new stuff out; I think he wanted something that reflected the play. It owes itself to adlib and improvisation theatre.
What’s it been like working with the cast?
Alex – they’re a really good bunch, really great comic timing and really lovely people to work with. We have a lot of jokes, a lot of fun. In the rehearsal room we experiment, we improvise as well to refine the comedy; it’s a joy to work with.
What’s been the most challenging thing about the show?
James – probably Act 2. Act 2 in itself is a piece that could be put on. Also, getting used to a 40 minute long mime is something to behold.
Phoebe Newlan (cast)– there are a lot of things that go wrong so you have to get it right, getting them wrong if that makes sense. My character is meant to hold everything together and yeah, that’s hard.
George Fincher (cast)– I think, because we’re basically doing the same act three times, trying to find out whether you say X line in Act 1 or Y line in Act 2 or Z line in Act 3 and that’s quite hard.
Who is the funniest member of the cast?
Phoebe – James Bowen and Alice (Palmer)
George – yeah I’d say it’s a toss up between James and Alice.
James – I would say Alice…
Phoebe – and no one’s said me so –
James – and Phoebe.
Phoebe – thank you.
James – yeah Alice and Phoebe. Particularly in Act 3 Phoebe comes into her own.
Why do you think audiences will enjoy “Noises Off”?
James – it plays up to the extremes of stereotypes, it’s quite a universally funny thing.
George – I think especially an audience that practises a lot of theatre, they will recognise a lot of moments and they’ll go ‘oh that’s what happens in rehearsals’.
Niamh Smith (cast) – people will come along and go ‘this is every play I’ve ever been in’ but to a much greater extreme. It is what you see backstage normally. The little things that go wrong are just heightened into a catastrophe of a show.
Alex – the play is such an incredibly cleverly written play, it’s just so funny and it’s really nice to do a big comedy play, there hasn’t really been a big EUTCo comedy play in a long time so I think it’s really nice that we’re able to bring something that’s so well loved to Exeter.
Jake Tacchi (cast) – because it’s full of energy, it’s very silly and it’s light but very clever at the same time so you can really get into it.
Who, of the characters, is the most overdramatic and milks it?
James – Selsdon likes to milk it up because he comes on so sporadically. He’s the old wizened man who is very selfish in his stage approach. I think Belinda has a lot of lines that dramatize well –
Phoebe – hmm…she’s quite annoying, she’s a big gossip. I think also Dotty is quite dramatic.
Jake – Garry is certainly quite hammy in his delivery.
Catch EUTCo’s Week 10 show, “Noises Off” by Michael Frayn, in Kay House Thursday 23nd and Friday 24th March at 7.30pm