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Noises Off

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  14,193 ratings  ·  175 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, 176 pages
Published August 27th 2002 by Anchor (first published January 1st 1982)
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Community Reviews

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Sep 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: modern-lit
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
Dec 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
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
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: drama
NOISES OFF. (1982). Michael Frayn. ***.
My ultimate star rating for this play in three acts is meaningless. It could really range from one star to five stars – all depending on how much of the play you were actually able to absorb from a reading. I found this to be the least readable play that I have ever encountered. The reason for this is simple: it is a play-within-a-play work that has to come out as a coherent three-dimensional drama while working with a two-dimensional communication form – t
Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor, plays
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.
Barth Siemens
Aug 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays, humor
This was highly amusing. Oddly, I feel like walking around with a plate of sardines in striped boxers. Read the damn book.
Jul 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Michael Frayn puts the mad ánd the cap into madcap with this thrilling farce. The troupe of actors performing the farce 'Nothing on' suffers from internal strife and compromised professionalism. Love, hate, alcoholism, violence-induced nosebleeds and a veritable school of sardines join flowers, props and a cactus in causing havoc. It is fascinating to see the words lying dormant on the page after having seen the play on stage as well as the filmed version (which remains remarkably true to the or ...more
Jul 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Noises Off is like macaroni and cheese to me. I loved the movie from the moment I saw it, probably around 10 years ago. I've watched it many times and practically have it memorized. I finally got to see the play on stage a couple weeks ago, fully expecting it to be a letdown because it wasn't Carol Burnette and John Ritter etc., but I loved it! I then decided I needed to read the script.

I had seen the script in high school, remembering that it was crazy how thick it was, full of stage directions
Aug 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Sidik Fofana
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
SIX WORD REVIEW: Sardines and sheikhs and backstage drama!
First show I ever saw on Broadway. I have seen many versions. I have directed scenes from it with student companies. I auditioned for it recently (without success). One of the funniest plays ever written. Anyone who has been in a touring theatre company will recognize the reality underlying the hilarious extremes. Not to be missed, if you ever get the chance to see/read it.
May 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Darren Jacobs
Jul 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have never laughed so hard at reading a script. Firstly, because it is so funny. Secondly, as an actor, I actually could see the ridiculous slapstick stuff that happens in this play actually happening.

The play is based in two acts. The first act is the final dress rehearsal, the second act is a month into the run, and then it jumps ahead again another month into the run.

I honestly laughed and laughed at the situations they find themselves in and the relationships that steadily deteriorate thro
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I’d heard reading this play was better than the filmed version, which I stumbled across and enjoyed somewhat. But it wasn’t so: it is better enjoyed watching than reading, partly because the timing of the action is so important and partly because the reaction of the characters lends to the enjoyment.
Feb 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: theatre
Reading this is a really interesting experience because you have to keep so many simultaneous actions in your head. I was trading off between this and another novel for a bit, and I realized that this one needed my full attention. It's really funny, even just in the reading, but I didn't know Peter Bogdanovich filmed an adaptation! I'm definitely going to watch that.
Feb 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It's hard to get people to laugh out loud while they're reading, but by Act 3, I could barely keep reading because I was laughing so much. I laughed until I cried, I laughed until my stomach hurt, I laughed until the cat got really annoyed.
Aug 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Toni King
Jul 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Toni by: Jason Simon
One of my favorite shows of all time!
Apr 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theater, 2013, favorites
One of my most favoritest plays in the entire history of ever, whether onstage or in script form. Even the stage directions are hilarious!
Jul 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Genius--the greatest farce since Shakespeare. Equally hilarious in London and New York. The only modern rival for best play-within-a-play is the same author's award-winning drama "Copenhagen".
May 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
A difficult read, but it is worth it. A very smart comedy. Lloyd Dallas is a very fun character.
Graham Wilhauk
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This play was not only funny, it was flat out HILARIOUS! Maybe the first act could have been shorter, yes. However, if acts two and three weren't the funny things I've ever seen in theatre, I don't know what is. What also helps elevate the comedy for me is that this play focuses on a play production (and a bad one that is). As a person who was in theatre all four years of high school and even did a show in community theatre, I LOVED the atmosphere of a production gone HORRIBLY. It made me cringe ...more
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
To call Michael Frayn's script 'batshit crazy' would not be giving it enough credit. To look at a script of 'Noises Off' may give you a headache and I give credit to any director who tackles the project. 'Noises Off' cannot be read, it has to be seen and luckily, I was able to see my alma mater perform it a year ago. Frayn's script, a farcical play-within-a-play is a onion of hilarity (it has layers). Act Two is a whirlwind of physical comedy and callbacks that will make you go cross-eyed trying ...more
Brandon Pytel
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
This English sex farce probably deserves more than a 2, as it would have been much easier watching it then going through the frustratingly challenging task of reading it, but such is life. The comedy unfolds as a play within a play, Act 1 delivering us the basic plot of Nothing On and introducing us to the ill-prepared cast; Act 2 giving us the behind-the-scenes look at the opening matinee; and Act 3, a busted-up performance hardly in sync with the original. Mistaken identities, miscommunication ...more
Ben Chenoweth
Sep 01, 2017 rated it liked it
I can see the humour in this play, but it is hard to experience on the page. It's so difficult following who's who; it would make a lot sense in the theatre where you can put a face to the name(s). Plus a lot of the comedy comes from frustration, which gets a bit tiresome after a while. Still, the ingenuity of the play within a play, seen from the front, then from back stage, and finally from the front again as everything falls down around their ears is very clever. Seeing this in a theatre is n ...more
Paul LaFontaine
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A slapstick look at a play within a play - the fictional cast start rough and deteriorate during their run until the play itself melts down in a hilarious parody of the theater.

Very funny play. Clear to see why it is a staple for theater companies everywhere. The three variations of the performance, all pulled in different directions by the interaction of the bickering cast, are hilarious when compared.

Highly recommend.
Scott Lee
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Exactly what it claims to be, this is a ludicrously hilarious farce. I'm prepping this one for performance this fall, and after reading it can't believe I've waited this long--I've heard about it for years, even had it presented to me on occasion!--to get it on stage!
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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
“Why did *I* lock the door? Why did YOU lock the door? Someone locked the door...” 2 likes
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