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Noises Off - Full Length Play, Comedy

Noises Off

Michael Frayn

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Full Length Play, Comedy

5m, 4f

ISBN: 9780573619694

"The most dexterously realized comedy ever about putting on a comedy. A spectacularly funny, peerless backstage farce. This dizzy, well-known romp is festival of delirium." - The New York Times
: Acting Edition
: Large Print
: Stage Manager

Minimum Fee: $100 per performance


Full Length Play



More than 120 minutes (2 hours)

Time Period - Contemporary

Settings Of Play - The set of the living room of the Brent's country home in the play Nothing's On, and the backstage area. Wednesday afternoon. (Three different theaters between January and April.)


Physical Comedy, Stage Combat

Cutting Approved for Competition, UIL Approved, Competition or audition material

Interior Set, Unit Set/Multiple Settings

Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


Mild Adult Themes


Adult, Senior, Teen (Age 14 - 18)


High School/Secondary, College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre, Professional Theatre, Large Stage


Olivier, From Broadway, From West End

Winner! 1982 Olivier Award, Best Play
Winner! 1982 London Evening Standard Award, Best Comedy
Nominee! 1984 Tony® Award, Best Play
Nominee! 1984 Drama Desk Award, Best Play
Called “the funniest farce ever written,” Noises Off presents a manic menagerie of itinerant actors rehearsing a flop called Nothing’s On. Doors slamming, on and offstage intrigue, and an errant herring all figure in the plot of this hilarious and classically comic play.


"The most dexterously realized comedy ever about putting on a comedy. A spectacularly funny, peerless backstage farce. This dizzy, well-known romp is festival of delirium." - The New York Times

"Bumper car brilliance [...] If laughter is indeed the best medicine, Noises Off is worth its weight in Cipro." New York Daily News

"The funniest farce ever written! Never before has side-splitting taken on a meaning dangerously close to the non-metaphorically medical." - New York Post

"As side-splitting a farce as I have seen. Ever? Ever." - New York Magazine

Noises Off opened at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in New York City on December 11, 1983, under the direction of Michael Blakemore.



5m, 4f


Ensemble cast


N/A (Not a musical)

DOTTY OTLEY - A late-middle-aged actress. Plays Mrs. Clackett, the housekeeper for the Brents' home in England in Nothing's On.
LLOYD DALLAS - The director of a play-within-the-play, called Nothing's On.
GARRY LEJEUNE -  A stuttering actor, easily fired up. Plays Roger, the estate agent looking to let the Brent's house in Nothing's On.
BROOKE ASHTON - A young inexperienced actress from London. Plays Vicki, who works for the tax authorities and is trying to woo Roger in Nothing's On. 
POPPY NORTON-TAYLOR - Assistant Stage Manager.
FREDERICK FELLOWES - Has a serious fear of violence and blood. Plays Phillip Brent, who lives out of the country with his wife Flavia to avoid paying taxes and is on a secret visit in Nothing's On.
BELINDA BLAIR - Cheerful and sensible, a reliable actress. Plays Flavia, Philip Brent's wife, who is dependable, though not one for household duties in Nothing's On.
TIM ALLGOOD - An over-worked Stage Manager.
SELSDON MOWBRAY - Elderly and with actorly mannerisms. Plays Selsdon, a burglar and an old man in his seventies, breaking into the Brents' house in Nothing's On.
Rental Materials


N/A (Not a musical)


N/A (Not a musical)

  • Noises Off - Old Vic Trailer

  • Noises Off - Roundabout Theatre montage

  • Roundabout Theatre cast discusses Noises Off

Michael Frayn

Michael Frayn

Michael Frayn was born in London in 1933 and began his writing career as a reporter at The Guardian and The Observer. His subsequent plays include Alphabetical Order, Clouds, Donkeys' Years, Make and Break, Benefactors, Democracy, and Afterlife, which was developed for the Royal National Theatre in 2008. Copenhagen, first staged at the National, won the 1998 Evening Standard Award for Best Play of ... view full profile

Now Playing
David Nicks 5/31/2016 10:56 AM
Possibly the funniest play I have even worked on.
Steven Spohn 12/17/2013 12:35 PM
This complicated play is so well written that it allows for some adaptation to a variety of needs based on the producer's or director's choice. Very clever writing!

"Noises Off" is the first show I know of that puts a play within a play and includes extremely clever dialogue that delivers laugh after laugh. A production I attended pushed the sexual innuendo angle just enough - combining that with great acting - to keep the audience just about peeing its collective pants. Funny!
Jon Henry 4/23/2013 9:48 PM
“Noises Off” is easily one of the most fun shows I have ever seen or read. It is one of the most break-neck, laugh-out-loud farces that his ever been put on. While the show’s subject matter is light and the characters aren't particularly complex, it makes up for this in clever dialogue, brilliant gags and some rather ingenious technical design.

The play focuses on a production of a fictional show entitled “Nothing’s On” as the cast and crew crumble throughout its ten-week run. The set is designed to be reversible so the audience sees part of the show from backstage. While the show isn't designed to be particularly heavy or deep it does present a humorously accurate caricature of the theatrical community.

The biggest challenges of the show are the difficulties of a rotating set as well as the rather difficult slapstick comedy. A farce is only as good as its actors. With the right actors, “Noises Off” can knock the audience dead, with the wrong actors it can easily descend into the same sort of cacophony as its play within a play. The physicality of the piece is both its greatest strength and its biggest liability.

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