Your voice for the festival

Noises Off is a place for you to write reviews, share your thoughts, make some jokes and join in the discussion. You can submit articles by email to noff@nsdf.org.uk, or – even better – come and visit the NOFFice in the Union bar at any time of the day and discuss ideas with the team. Follow and tweet us @noffmag.

At the close

25 March 2016

So it's that time when we reflect on the week, give thanks and hand out awards. Reflecting and thanking are easy – we've seen shows that have been political, funny, inspiring, shocking and thought-provoking, and all done with the kind of energy and commitment that make us embittered journos feel thankful for the present and hopeful for the future. 

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'News' for Friday 25 March

25 March 2016

To Avoid Controversy, The NSDF Awards Are To Be Settled By Playing Arcade Games

After decades of tiresome grumbling from shows cruelly denied their share of Award Ceremony glory, NSDF has made the decision to abolish the judging process altogether in favour of a day-long battle in Scarborough's finest gaming halls. 

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How not to make friends

25 March 2016

by Joseph Winer

On telling people that no, I am not with a show, no, I am not part of the company, and no, I don’t even go to a university associated with one of the shows, I receive a general response of “Well done!” and “Wow, that’s brave!”. To combat the potential loneliness that would have isolated me to the realms of my B&B, with nothing to do but write for Noises Off all week, I made the conscious decision to mingle.

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Review: Lust for life

25 March 2016

by Joseph Winer

I had been looking forward to Cock ever since the festival productions were announced. Encouraged to read something by Mike Bartlett, I was drawn to it at Foyles bookshop in London about six months ago and got to reading straight away. In a way, the play is hardly original by using exploration of sexuality as a key theme. However, I believe Bartlett gives one of the most honest depictions of the confusions of sexuality ever seen on stage. 

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Review: Gruesome fantasies

25 March 2016

by Eoin Buckley

Have you ever been told a story that has a really good moral and intention behind it, but the way the story was told to you just didn't hook you in the slightest? The kind of story that opens up very interesting questions and conversations, but only once you've slogged through the stodge to get there. That's how I felt after watching Dahmer.

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'News' for Thursday 24 March

24 March 2016

Festival Director Michael Brazier Speaks Out On New Career As Hat Model

Festival director Michael Brazier is to resign in order to pursue a career as a hat model. Brazier, who has been director since 2012, handed in his letter of resignation after last night's Quiz, during which he modelled a series of hats. 

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Review: All aboard

24 March 2016

by Tom Bulpett

I adored this show...perhaps I should elaborate on that opinion to hit my word limit, but I honestly don’t feel I will be able to express how much I loved this musical in a few hundred words, so I might as well be brief.

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Just a voice

24 March 2016

by Kate Wyver

“How real is it?”

This is the question that’s been whispered round the in-the-round theatre as soon as the lights come up on Daniel. I sat down with the cast and crew to unpeel the layers of truth beneath this provocative piece of new writing about the impact of child pornography.

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Review: An uncomfortable feeling

24 March 2016

by Aenne Pallasca

apocalyptic-genderpunk

"Honestly, people treat bisexuality like Schrödinger's Cat: we're both gay and straight until they see us dating, and then we become one or the other."

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Review: Fun is a serious business

24 March 2016

by Steph Young

When I read about The Toyland Murders in the NSDF programme, my heart did a tiny little jump for joy. Over the past few years, I have developed a fondness for puppet theatre, so my hopes for Nottingham New Theatre’s pint-sized, film noir style offering were high.

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Surviving and thriving as a freelancer

24 March 2016

by Alice Saville

What's your plan after graduating? University careers officers, parents and friends might all be doing their best to persuade you that if you don't have a solid gold graduate job offer then you'll end up hawking dented tins of catfood from a tartan wheelie shopper within a decade. You don't need to listen to them. 

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Sanitised discussions

24 March 2016

by Kelly Goldring

What is the point?

When I first came along to the NSDF I was told that a key highlight was the vibrant discussions which would dissect the theatrical productions and consider the merits and area of weakness of each piece allowing true reflection for all involved.

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Noble envy

24 March 2016

by Lily James

Envy sits in the corner, tearing the label off its beer. It’s a feeling that lives at the backs of workshops, at the corners of the bar. And I have been envious this week. Worse, at times I’ve been actively very jealous.

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Why I have a weird crush on Chris Thorpe...

24 March 2016

An anonymous contributor has some rather strong feelings to share with the class.

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Review: One hell of a cast

24 March 2016

by Tom Bulpett

So far my festival has been occupied by police brutality, sexual identity crisis and child abuse. All of which I very much enjoyed, but these productions (I hope it was clear I was talking about shows there) were not exactly easy to watch at times. I was therefore thoroughly looking forward to switching my brain off, sitting back and enjoying some light-hearted uncomplicated theatre. And after whetting my appetite with an impressive rendition of their opening number at the welcoming ceremony, I hoped the production of The Addams Family from Durham Light Opera Group could provide me with this.

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Review: Sombre zest

24 March 2016

by Joseph Winer

The Durham Light Opera Group described their production of The Addams Family as "a wacky musical comedy… [with] plenty of dark humour". I am pleased to say that they didn’t disappoint. The musical presents the characters we all know and… love (!?), and tells the story of Wednesday Addams (Jennifer Bullock) falling in love with a normal boy, Lucas (Joe McWilliam). With the parents of these two lovebirds set to meet for dinner, hilarity and disaster will surely result.

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'News' for Wednesday 23rd March

23 March 2016

by the Noises Off investigative team

David Fincher to Direct Hollywood Adaptation of The Toyland Murders

Hollywood director David Fincher is to direct the movie adaptation of Nottingham New Theatre's The Toyland Murders. Mr Fincher, whose works include Seven and Fight Club, saw the play incognito yesterday and was instantly struck by the play's criminal and violent themes.

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Interview: Dahmer in Scarborough's Terror Tower

23 March 2016

Jeffrey Dahmer was a monster by anyone's standards. He killed 17 boys and men between 1978 and 1991 – and even ate parts of their flesh. Amie Petriccia-Lear's play tells his story. So we took her and director Thomas Newall to the scariest place in Scarborough to find out more: horror experience Terror Tower.

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Review: Great things to come

23 March 2016

by Tom Bulpett

I had no idea what I was in for before I saw Daniel, the debut piece of new writing from Footprint Theatre. After speaking to several people before seeing the show it was clear that it had divided opinion: some hated it, others were unsure, while many loved it. Regardless of views, there was one reoccurring trend among those I spoke to: they could not stop talking about it. And after experiencing it I can see why.

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Review: Ghoulish glee

23 March 2016

by Alice Saville

The Addams Family are one big contradiction. They're a loving, sharing, giving family, who also make regular attempts to murder anything or anyone that crosses their path. This musical ramps up the irony at the family's heart by making romance the show's lifeblood.  

 

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Review: Kicking against the pricks

23 March 2016

by Olivia Haw

There is nothing quite like hearing that one of your less popular opinions is now held by someone else as well. This is made all the more satisfying given that the opinion in question is regarding that little chestnut, the highly divisive Cock that everyone seems so desperate to crack.

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Open letter to the cast of Daniel

23 March 2016

To the cast and crew of Daniel,

There are many things I would like to say to you all, but I feel it is appropriate first to thank you. Those of you who I have already spoken to have treated me with such kindness and showed genuine concern and thoughtfulness towards my position.

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'Can you take me back with you?'

23 March 2016

by Kate Wyver

Many of us who say we want a career in theatre are often asked what we’ll actually do, how we’re actually useful, if our degree is actually real. We are asked, essentially, to justify our skillset and our interests. At the end of yesterday’s discussion we had something that in five minutes not only justified but also added value to everything that we do. 

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Editorial 22nd March

22 March 2016

Hello! As the glitter settles from last night's Bowie extravaganza, welcome to the even more glamorous world of Issue Three of Noises Off

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Scarborough rock: Alan Ayckbourn's support for the Steven Joseph Theatre

22 March 2016

by Alice Saville

Bite into Alan Ayckbourn (not literally, we're strictly respectful here) and you'd find him patterned through with Scarborough like a stick of John Bull's rock (and it's much better than Blackpool's rival offering, if you're asking). His 60-year, 80-play career would be formidable if it weren't for the sweetness of his work, cut through with enough acidity to sting but not enough to deter the flocking holiday crowds.

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Review: Over where?

22 March 2016

by Richard Dennis

The fall of the Berlin Wall infamously caused historian Francis Fukuyama to suggest that it marked “the end of history”. Given world events since, it's easy to scoff at the idea. But at the time, it would've been easier to see where Fukuyama was coming from.

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Review: The outsiders

22 March 2016

by Kate Wyver

I try to imagine being told that someone I know is a paedophile. I try to imagine whether I’d be able to stop thinking about it, whether I wouldn’t want to talk about it, or whether I’d be the one carefully probing for gossip.

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Review: In safe hands

22 March 2016

by Steph Young

Footprint Theatre’s Daniel is a thought-provoking, if brief, verbatim and devised piece which asks its audience to scrutinise their beliefs and emotional responses to the troubling stories with which we are presented in daily life. I was happy to comply. Even 24 hours after seeing Daniel, I am still unsure as to where I stand on the sentence of the 18-year-old convicted for possessing indecent images of children.

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Truth is stronger with fiction

22 March 2016

by Richard Dennis

There was a moment in Sunday's discussion on looking after ourselves and each other when a question was asked about using people's personal stories when making theatre. Luke Barnes answered by saying that the person you're writing about should be at the centre of the process, and it's not about the writer's vision. This was met with general consent, but I wonder how universally applicable this rule is when making theatre, especially after seeing The Beanfield and Daniel.

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That's what she said

22 March 2016

by Kate Wyver

They cum at the same time, they share bedtime story duty and they share swanky suits. Mark Ravenhill’s political drama Over There focuses on a pair of identical twin brothers reunited after the fall of the Berlin Wall, but director Josie Davies has chosen to cast gender-blind with Bryony Davies and Samuel Wightman playing the twins.

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Technician Impossible #3 2016

21 March 2016

You've put us in a tricky situation, Tech Crew. A tricky, tricky situation. 

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'News' for Monday 21st March

21 March 2016

by the Noises Off investigate team

Iain Duncan Smith's Application to Manage Tech Crew Rejected

Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith's application to be Resource Manager for the Tech Crew has been rejected by the NSDF board.

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Technician Impossible #2 2016

21 March 2016

We ask, the Tech Crew delivers: One Berlin Wall built and then destroyed. With bonus points for extra Hasselhoff. 

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Toyland puppets spill their guts

21 March 2016

by Alice Saville

“Stories about toys are normally like Noddy, very saccharine and sugary. The worst thing will happen is that maybe someone will get pushed over and they all go on a picnic. But what if something really bad happened?” Director and writer Ben Holland's first venture into making a play using puppets was inspired by this question, along with Disney, Pixar and loads of YouTube tutorials. Primary coloured toys act out a stylish and 1930s film noir, following a female detective's quest to hunt down a cold-blooded killer who's menacing Toyland.

We caught up with the button-eyed cast of Toyland Murders to find out what they've made of the NSDF so far – and who they'd like to murder.

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Review: A new killer in a new town

21 March 2016

by Joseph Winer

I just love puppets. I think it’s fascinating how glued-together pieces of felt can be brought to life to the point where I actually feel for them. There was a brilliant moment when Harvey B. Feltz (James Roscow) entered with his hands tied together, and I felt genuinely upset. A build-up of life through these inanimate creatures led me to this point, in a show that was superb in writing, direction and execution of performances.

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The after effect

21 March 2016

by Kate Wyver

NSDF’s post-lunch discussions are one of the most communal parts of the festival, led daily by the ever fair, ever so slightly scary Chris Thorpe. The subject of the first discussion, "how to look after ourselves and others", feels timely as the production, management and technical teams are working flat out. 

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The elusive genius of Move

21 March 2016

by Alice Saville

Who are the hardest working people at the NSDF? The Tech Crew, “Nippy” cabs and dauntless Sarah from the Management Team have all got a look-in for this most sought-after of accolades. But most impressive of all are the cast and crew of Move, who are mounting an astonishing 24 performances throughout this year's NSDF.

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Review: Scary monsters? Super creeps?

21 March 2016

by Meg Osborne

Footprint Theatre’s production of Daniel is a bold new play with a dark theme. The four actors bravely and deftly tackled the issue of whether it's sexual preferences, or merely thoughts, that define who we are as human beings.

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Don't be a P.A.M.

20 March 2016

by Connie Lane

Upon arrival at NSDF (in its 60th year no less) a friend of mine observed that the twisting corridors and the long winding stairs of the SJT were like a maze or, to coin the phrase she used, a "labyrinth in peach". I found this description really fucking funny and, to feed this comedic comparison, I decided that this newly named, mildly distressing system of peach, orange and other colours needed an equally mildly distressing monster to dwell within it. This is when I came up with the NSDF monster: P.A.M, otherwise known as the elusive Passive Aggressive Minotaur.

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Review: A little stiffy

20 March 2016

by Tom Bulpett

Cock. It’s certainly a hard play to get right. Full to the brim with salty wit. And a climax that can get really messy.

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Technician Impossible #1 2016

20 March 2016

History is a series of vanishing memories. Which is why theatre can be an important cultural preserver, encasing the mosquito of significance in the amber of text, waiting for the scientists of drama to extract it and bioengineer it into performance (That's enough – ed.)

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Review: Sometimes theatre makes me feel stupid

20 March 2016

by Joseph Winer

Sometimes I sit in complete darkness and watch a plot unravel in front of me on a topic I know nothing about. Then there’s an interval, and I’m suddenly thrown into the deep end of discussions about the vital political and social context of something I am none-the-wiser to. 

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The empty space: the mystery of UCL’s disappearing theatres

19 March 2016

by Alice Saville

As theatre director Peter Brook had it, “I can take any empty space and call it a bare stage.” It’s a fine idea. But what does a student drama society do when it’s forced to search harder and harder for the room to exist?

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Interview - Josie Davies

19 March 2016

by Kate Wyver

Josie Davies, co-producer of the highly acclaimed Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons at NSDF last year, is returning to the 2016 festival as director of Mark Ravenhill’s political drama Over There with the Warwick University Drama Society. “We built a kind of community at last year’s festival and there was already so much support by the time we went with the show to Edinburgh,” she says, so she’s excited to approach this year with a more directly artistic view.

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Interview - Timothy West

19 March 2016

by Richard Dennis

The National Student Drama Festival started in 1956, and is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. Actor Timothy West was there all those years ago, and we spoke to him about what he remembers and how the acting world has changed. 

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'News' for Saturday 19th March

19 March 2016

by the Noises Off Investigative Team

NSDF to be Rebranded?

There are rumours that the National Student Drama Festival is planning a rebrand. Details are unclear at the moment, but it’s understood that there is a feeling among the festival board that the words “National”, “Student”, “Drama” and “Festival” don’t do justice to the kinds of work that are put on every year.

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Editorial #1 2016

19 March 2016

by Richard Dennis

So you made it to NSDF16. Well done. Seriously – if you’re here, it means your show was selected, or you were, or you made it on to the tech team, or you volunteered for the management team, or you paid for a ticket and came of your own volition, any one of which required time, hard work and money.

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