The Noise Next Door

I went to see a performance by The Noise Next Door on the 22nd of July 2017 at Deershed Festival 8 in Thirsk. It was an improvised, fast-paced and audience interactive comedy piece that was split into multiple sketches. I went to this event because I was already going to the festival as my mum was working there promoting Arts Award. I saw this performance in the planner and thought it would be a good idea to see it.

The Noise Next Door

The stage was completely bare and was a dark colour. It was in a bigtop, circus-style tent and the genre complemented that style as it was a more informal performance with the audience, who were a mixed group of young children all the way to grown adults, either sitting on blankets and coats or standing around the edge of the tent. the actors were all wearing casual clothes so the performance didn't feel to formal. Also, the Deershed festival is an event that families go to have fun, not to see a formal theatre performance.

The company is made up of four actors who multiroled a lot of the time to encompass the many characters in their many sketches. Although I did notice that some patterns on the characters that they chose started to emerge. For example, one of the actors was either the main protagonist or antagonist in the sketches; one of them played all the animal roles; all of the female roles were played by one of them and the other was mostly the narrator but also played roles where they were needed.

They performed four sketches and two songs over the hour that they were on stage. My favourite was their last performance in which audience suggestions that were taken throughout the performance led to the worlds of Disney's The Little Mermaid and Harry Potter being brought together. It saw Lord Voldemort attempting to bring ruin to Ariel's singing competition with the help of Nagini. There were a lot of funny moments in this scene such as 1 actor portraying multiple mermaids at the same time, all with different personalities. Another moment was a fight scene between Voldemort's Nagini and Sebastian, both being played by the same actor.

They also performed songs based on audience input. One of these was a song about a zoo full of dad's from Manchester run by Donald Trump. This was very funny and well made as everyone seemed to know when they came in and when they all needed to join in. I think this suggests that they had a formula for their performances which the suggestions and ideas from the audience were slotted into. Also, another song involved an audience member going onto the stage to play guitar for the song. They said that usually it was an adult that went up to play for them, but when I saw it was someone who was around 10 years old. The company was very supportive and managed to carry on singing even though the tune wasn't very consistent and it was hard to tell where the song was going. Even that was used as part of the song as one of the lines was "It's hard to tell where the tune is going" which shows that they were making a joke so that the boy didn't feel as bad.

This idea of making jokes out of hiccups and mistakes in the sketches was continued throughout all of the mini performances. The show went as right as it did wrong, but this was celebrated by the actors and jokes were made out of the mistakes.

Earlier that day, I had seen a similar style performance by a company called Comedy Sports UK. However, that company performed in a competition based manner compared to The Noise Next Door who were just doing it to entertain the audience. I much preferred the Noise Next Door to the other company as I thought that the actors were much more talented and were generally more energetic.

I really liked this performance and would highly recommend it to people of all ages as they are starting a tour around England. I liked it because there was a lot audience interaction and I really enjoyed the fact that people could get their ideas heard and turned into a hilarious sketch. Also I liked the informal aspect of the entire performance as I don't really enjoy formal performances. The actors were very talented in my opinion a the were confident, quick-witted and managed to keep the scene going.

The performance could have been better in a less crowded space but apart form that I can't think of anything that could improve it.

I've learned that there is new type of art form, improvised sketches, that interests me and I now know that I would happily go and see a performance of a similar style again. This is the sort of arts event that I would like to see again.

2 Comments

  • Luke Taylor

    On 18 September 2017, 10:44 Luke Taylor Contributor commented:

    All hail comedy!!

  • Tom Inniss

    On 18 September 2017, 11:18 Tom Inniss Voice Team commented:

    Was lucky enough to catch a sample of their work in Edinburgh during a variety show a few years back - really good stuff!

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