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Noises Off

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  14,826 ratings  ·  203 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 1982)
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Hamlet by William ShakespeareMacbeth by William ShakespeareThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar WildeRomeo and Juliet by William ShakespeareThe Crucible by Arthur  Miller
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  14,826 ratings  ·  203 reviews

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Amalia Gkavea
‘’And God said, "Where the Hell is Tim?" And there the Hell was Tim. And God said, "Let there be doors that open when they open, and close when they close."

A famous actress who has invested her money in an upcoming comedy, with a penchant for younger men.

A young actor who has taken advantage of the aforementioned star.

An actress who tries to take care of everyone and everything and looks for a chance to capture the heart of the handsome actor who has just been made available.

The aforemention
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
Anna Avian
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Hilarious. A farce about a farce. The lights died, and an apologetic stage manager had to explain to the audience that there had been a technical glitch. For that to happen in any show is unfortunate; to happen during a comedy about a theater show collapsing around it's actors is profoundly ironic. ...more
Charlie Miller
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: play
I get the impression this is much loved by the am-dram contingent as it's a play about putting on a play. The dialogue and stage choreography pinballs around at breakneck speed, and you get the added meta dimension of the director's interventions, and from the second act being staged in the wings. ...more
Dec 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle, plays
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
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: humor, plays
This was highly amusing. Oddly, I feel like walking around with a plate of sardines in striped boxers. Read the damn book.
Sidik Fofana
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
SIX WORD REVIEW: Sardines and sheikhs and backstage drama!
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Finished: 03.11.201
Genre: play
Rating: A++++++++

Reading time: 2 hr 55 min

For once a blurb has lived up to expectations
…this is surely the funniest farce ever written!
This play-in-a-play left me laughing out loud!
Noises Off (1982) by Michael Frayn.
It is said to be one of the
...greatest comedies ever preformed on stage!
Reading the introduction…and discover the first laugh!
Prague: play performed without Act 3 for 10 years…
NO one noticed until Frayn arrived for a
Ms. Lola
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Bag bag bag

Sardines sardines
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
Jan 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
What can I tell you? I've been in four productions of this farce-within-a-farce-within-a-satirical-reflection-on-the-madness-and-delight-of-theater (three times as Frederick, one as Lloyd) and am about to be in another one (as Selsdon). The play is exhausting. Never have nine actors worked so hard to get so many laughs. Yet despite the endless rehearsals to get the split second timing of the frenetic action just right, the punishing 2 1/2 odd hours of running around like a maniac every night, th ...more
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. ...more
Luke Reynolds
I feel like this would be a play better seen live. Although chaotically funny and perfectly capturing the deterioration of a play through its entire crew catching themselves up in tumultuous love affairs, drama, and unexpected parallels, Noises Off finds itself repeating jokes over and over again. The repetition irked me on reading, but seeing the visual cues differentiate throughout the three acts onstage might make me think differently. This seems like a difficult play to direct, but if done w ...more
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.
Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was hysterical and I'm quite sorry I won't be able to see it in person anytime soon. Given the amount of physical comedy involved, I'm sure it's much better seen live. Even so it's a rollicking good read once you get into the second act. Definitely the funniest play I've ever read. ...more
Kobe Bryant
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
I shouldn’t even read plays, I never like it that much
Kate Grimm
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I think what makes this play so brilliant is how hard it is to read and easy it is to watch. A favorite forever
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
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. ...more
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.
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. ...more
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. ...more
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.
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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

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