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Noises Off

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  9,608 ratings  ·  106 reviews
Noises Off, the classic farce by the Tony Award—winning author of Copenhagen, is not one play but two: simultaneously a traditional sex farce, Nothing On, and the backstage “drama” that develops during Nothing On’s final rehearsal and tour. The two begin to interlock as the characters make their exits from Nothing On only to find themselves making entrances into the even w ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published December 1st 1982 (first published January 1st 1982)
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Community Reviews

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This play is Hilarious. I wish I had seen it while it was on Broadway, especially with the cast on the cover of the book (Patti LuPone,Peter Gallagher, Richard Easton, Katie Finneran, T.R. Knight, Thomas McCarthy, Robin Weigert, Faith Prince, and Edward Hibbert). As I laughed through reading this play it brought me back to my early college years when I saw The Dinner Party on Broadway. I laughed so hard during that play I cried! So after hearing that there was a film version of this play I immed ...more
I've seen this three times. It's the most clever play, hysterically funny, really laugh-until-it-hurts-funny, but it has to be done by somebody top-notch. Happily, I've only bombed out once.

Michael Frayn suffers from being an all-rounder. I once read some advice he gave to aspiring writers. Find one thing to say and keep saying it, that's what people want out of an author. All-rounders are never respected. Luckily for most writers, they do only have about one thing to say.

Frayn couldn't be furth
Jun 15, 2011 Junofive rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those in theatre
One of the funniest things I've ever read!
My first exposure to Noises Off came from a class in college, where it was listed on the course syllabus. We read portions of the text in class, and actually disrupted the class above us because we were laughing so hard and so loud.
It's very difficult, at first, to keep track of who is which character and when. Once you get past the initial difficulty, it's just a roller coaster ride of fun and hilarity.
I will say, though, that most of the humor in
Noises Off is hilarious. It begins with a company performing the final dress rehearsal of the fictional sex farce, Nothing On. The first act provides the set-up for the completely hysterical second act and the disastrous finale. Frayn establishes the cast of characters so perfectly that when things fall apart backstage during the tour in the second act, every moment is laugh out loud funny. The interaction between the players is quick, sharp, and pitch-perfect. By the conclusion in the third act ...more
A farce of a farce--farce squared. A group of rather unfortunate actors try to put on a play while various affairs, alcohol problems, rivalries, and psychological problems gum up the works. It's difficult to read, particularly the second act where the action happening on stage runs down one side of the page while the action happening backstage is on the other. While the movie was entertaining, I don't think it captured everything here completely.
A really good time! How? How is it that a writer can make a can of sardines so funny? I loved every character and every hysterical predicament the actors put themselves in while trying to put on their show.
Noises Off is one of the most entertaining and brilliant farces I've ever encountered. Every character has his place, every line has its purpose, every scene creates mayhem and hilarity. The play, separated into three acts, is about a group of actors, a director, and two stagehands trying to put on their very own farcical comedy, but drama and destruction ensue in the funniest of ways, making "Nothing On", the play within a play, a living nightmare for everyone on set.

I've always been exceptiona
It's such a shame that both the script and the movie are out of print. "Noises Off!" is the funniest comedy I have ever seen or read.
In "Noises Off!" a group of actors is preparing to stage a production of the smash farce "Nothing On." This is part of why this play is so funny: The play that the actors are butchering is hilarious in itself. All of the actors and stage hands are inept in their own unique way. They forget lines and stage directions, lose contact lenses and deal with a set that won
If the live production is as hilarious as the script, I'm in! I loved everything from the characters to the stage directions. A quick and fun read - highly recommended for someone who loves a good farce.
One of my most favoritest plays in the entire history of ever, whether onstage or in script form. Even the stage directions are hilarious!
A difficult read, but it is worth it. A very smart comedy. Lloyd Dallas is a very fun character.
Toni King
Jul 29, 2012 Toni King rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Toni by: Jason Simon
One of my favorite shows of all time!
Rachel C.
A farcical play-within-a-play involving the cast of a fictional sex comedy called "Nothing On." The whole thing is seen from backstage, as the personal lives of the "actors" start interfering with the mechanics of the play - cues are missed, lines are misspoken and plates of sardines are misplaced.

Frayne shows he has the skills of a master conductor to create and shape seeming chaos - girls running about in their underwear, doors being open and shut, characters climbing up and down stairs, in an
I had more trouble reading this play than any other play I have ever read, including Shakespeare. There is so much going on. I really enjoyed it and we watched the movie version of the play as part of our library group discussion. I got more out of watching the play/movie having read it first but it was definitely more fun to watch than to read. The movie version was hilarious and the cast was absolutely outstanding...Michael Caine, Carol Burnett, Christopher Reeve, John Ritter, Marilu Henner, J ...more
This is one of the most difficult scripts I've ever read, especially given the fact that the last time I saw it was as a young teenager. However, despite the plethora of stage directions overlapping "backstage" dialogue, I really loved this and have a deep desire to see it staged locally.
A play within a play. Sounds confusing right? I thought so too once hearing that. I essentially only read this play because it was mandatory in my English Writers Craft course, seeing as I'm not big on play wrights. Overall, I did enjoy it, most likely because I read this as play with other students, each of us having a specific role in the book, and as far as plays go it was funny and interesting. Most likely won't re-read this one again, because as I mentioned before, I'm not to big on plays, ...more
Hilarious, but the book doesn't do it justice. Go see the play! Amazing!
Matt Horowitz
I LOVE this movie. I always knew it was a play, but when I saw it come out in the bookstore I worked at ... I was very excited. It is still a great story even when you read it (although I definitely saw the actors from the movie in the roles). The fun part for me was seeing how different the script is to how the actors say the lines. It was the first time I really noticed what an actor can bring to a part and make it their own, and even make it better. The more you believe the actor as the part, ...more
Lisa Fuller
I played Flavia/Belinda in this play:)
Seems like a fantastic and very funny play (even had me laughing out loud a couple of times), but the book is impossible to follow. My recommendation, catch a show-skip the book.
I enjoyed this. Much better on stage!
my favourite play of all time
This play is at times hysterical and at other times hard to follow. I reread many parts of the play before, in most cases, I would understand what had happened. It appears to me to be one of those plays that would be much better seen in person than read and therefore I will make every attempt to do exactly that. I would say that the overwhelming emotion that I was left with was how clever and devious the author must be to write and come up with this tangled web of kind and cute misfits.
Michael McGrinder
An extremely funny play. Typical of Michael Frayn - brilliant and excessive.
Aug 09, 2014 Lori rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys a good laugh
Recommended to Lori by: Patty
One of the funniest pieces I've read in a long time. An intelligently written farce about a play. Though I would not mind seeing a live production, I don't think any live show can do the writing justice. The casting and production I played in my mind sufficed. And the stage directions woven into the play were just as funny if not funnier than the lines written for the characters. Thanks for suggesting this one, Patty!
Went to see this with my Grandma today (who'd seen the original catsing!). An absolutely hilarious piece of drama which I would gladly attend again! I'm becoming more acquainted with Frayn's style and I anticipate (with much regard for my abdominal muscles) reading Skios with great excitment! Suffice to say that after today's Matinee performance I shan't be needing a workout for some time...side-splitting stuff!
Classic, ironic Michael Frayn with his play about a play-rehearsal which is going badly. All the characters have their "actor" identities as well as their character's name and identities. When am I really me and when am I acting out some half-understood script I've had thrust upon me? In what way is the play-audience dyad more like a human being than any character in a play?
So interesting! And I don't say that because I can't find anything nice to say. I do wonder if this works better as a text than a play, but that's only because I haven't seen it staged. Frayn arranges the text on the page to handle the meta-theater aspects of the play, and even though it sometimes makes things a bit too confusing, it's really very impressive.
E.P. Rose
Technically, I haven't read this play, but I saw it years and years ago, and I don't think I have ever laughed so much in a theatre. The first half winds the engine up - and BANG, the second half unwinds with relentless hilarity. In fact, there's a good production of it on in London at the moment - and I must remember to get some tickets.
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Michael Frayn is an English playwright and novelist. He is best known as the author of the farce Noises Off and the dramas Copenhagen and Democracy. His novels, such as Towards the End of the Morning, Headlong and Spies, have also been critical and commercial successes, making him one of the handful of writers in the English language to succeed in both drama and prose fiction. His works often rais ...more
More about Michael Frayn...
Copenhagen Spies Skios Headlong Towards the End of the Morning

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“Why did *I* lock the door? Why did YOU lock the door? Someone locked the door...” 3 likes
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