REVIEW | World Première – “Noise” at Old Rep, Birmingham

A bold new production took to the stage this evening for its première performance. Presentabsence theatre, Little Arden Theatre Company and Mr. Millerman are the team presenting Thomas Moran’s new piece.

In short, the tale follows students within their first year at university. One student is deaf and gay – two aspects of his life which seem to provide reasons for people to not accept him, whilst others fully embrace him. We follow the story of his struggles of being deaf and his love with flatmate Harry through incredibly powerful physical theatre moments and scenes full of wit.

I really didn’t know what to expect from this new production and so my mind was incredibly open. Right from the start you are captivated and the movement scenes bring so many questions to your mind, constantly questioning our surrounding world and the perspective of others around us.

Nicolas Ancelin took the role of the deaf student Evan and what a marvellous job he did. You can’t help but form a bond with the character and he portrays him with such talent that the amount of empathy you gain is indescribable. Harry, Evans lover was delivered by Dominic Holmes, beautifully executing numerous scenes of physical theatre. Both are excellently supported by Sophie Airdien (Rosie), Katherine Rodden (Kate) and Oliver Knight (Josh) as the pairs flatmates. All three bring well-received humour to the piece and subtly represent numerous so-called ‘social issues’ within themselves.

Design elements are simple but effective with an almost clinical-white approach, making every scene seem flow and allowing our imaginations to take the story further. The use of lighting and video design merge excellently to create a performance that could easily rival ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time‘, a show which I would deem incredibly similar in styles, approach and thoughtfulness. Just without the budget, which really doesn’t affect the piece in the slightest.

Its an eye-opening story, that easily makes you alter your perspective on how you accept others. The delivery of the whole production is incredibly thought-provoking and wonderfully portrayed. Its sometimes difficult to take the plunge and book to see something which is not a commercial all-singing, all-dancing musical but I assure you that you will not be disappointed. As a world, we are always so busy working and living our own lives that we forget about others and the challenges they are facing so we must rely on this type of rare theatre to bring us back down to earth and to see life as it truly is.

As a first preview, slipped lines can easily be overlooked but that would be the only fault – and a small one of that.

Every single performance of this production is fully accessible with captions, BSL interpreting and Audio Description. This highlights that theatre is somewhat behind the times as people with accessible needs are incredibly limited to choice of dates and so this production is a theatrical triumph – leading the way for the future of theatre.

★★★★ thought-provoking theatrical triumph.

‘Noise’ runs at Old Rep Birmingham until Sat 15 April. For tickets, follow this link: http://www.oldreptheatre.co.uk/tablet/noise.html

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