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.

Where my Celts at?

14 April 2017

Bronwen Davies and Eilidh Nurse ask how 'National' the NSDF really is

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Check your privilege

14 April 2017

Phoebe Graham struggles to connect with Thick Skin

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Angels and demons

14 April 2017

Something essential is lost in this adaptation of David Almond's Skellig, says Florence Bell

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The big picture

14 April 2017

Phoebe Graham on the beautiful mundanities of Ordinary Days

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Technical marvels

14 April 2017

Ciara Shrager reviews some of the most impressive tech, lighting and sound design of the festival

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Shine a light

14 April 2017

Thick Skin should make us take a long look at ourselves, says Lily James

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A good offence

14 April 2017

Thick Skin goes beyond just comedy to make pertinent points on social issues, says Florence Bell

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Uncomfortably great

14 April 2017

Adam Hutton squirms under the racist gaze of Thick Skin – and loves it

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Pleasant surprises

14 April 2017

Elise Fairbairn shares her thoughts on Skellig, Thick skin and Ordinary Days

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Everyone back to ours

14 April 2017

With the idea of seeing what a person from Hull would make of NSDF, Lily James invited a Tinder date to watch Skellig and Ordinary Days with her

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Nothing really matters

14 April 2017

Sad Little Man is made up of fragments, driven by exceptional performances, but the female voice is drowned out, says Florence Bell 

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Masters of puppets

14 April 2017

There's a warmth and charm to Skellig, thanks to a strong ensemble and thoughtful design, says Joseph Winer

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It's a kind of magic

14 April 2017

Skelling is full of heart and the feeling that everyone is having a good time, says Phoebe Graham​

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Good grief

13 April 2017

The visceral, emotionally jarring Sad Little Man keeps Eve Allin in suspense, then drops her into a gaping hole

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Through the gears

13 April 2017

It's the Cogs that make the wheels turn in Cognitions, says Florence Bell

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...and you have my pity

13 April 2017

Sad Little Man is a smart, simple, wry, hurting play, says Lily James

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Futures made of virtual insanity

13 April 2017

A technological spectacle is at the heart of this installation theatre, says Phoebe Graham

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Sometimes you need a punch to the gut

13 April 2017

The raw emotion of Sad Little Man makes it a stand-out show for Wilkie Dickinson-Sparkes

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Nothing is happening, the pixels are huge

13 April 2017

More a durational art piece than a play, Pixels leaves Eve Allin unsettled and unable to look away

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Stop me if you've heard this one before

13 April 2017

Sad Little Man is a lot of things to Kate Wyver

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In colour

13 April 2017

Pixels is a visual and technical triumph, but its retro sci-fi tropes don't speak to Lily James

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Cogs/things/blobs

13 April 2017

Phoebe Graham struggles with Cognitions

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Weak at the knees

12 April 2017

Lily James on seeking staying power in Hidden

 

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Clouded vision

12 April 2017

Florence Bell attempts to find the meaning of Blackbird

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Shapes on a screen

12 April 2017

Florence Bell enters the world of the pixels, where everything we know has been reduced to numbers

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Let's dance

12 April 2017

Feeling it right, Florence Bell unpacks Celebration 

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The right words, at the right time

12 April 2017

Unable to articulate her own thoughts on Celebration, Phoebe Graham threw a farty to find out what other festgoers thought about it

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Top trump

12 April 2017

And then God got lost in IKEA. And it was good. Alex Milledge praises Celebration

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Higher education

12 April 2017

Starting from an admitted place of ignorance gives No Human is Illegal a valuable authenticity, says Phoebe Graham

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Pick a side

12 April 2017

After watching Say it Loud and No Human is Illegal, Andrew Rogers was left feeling angry, ashamed, and determined to do more

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The power of a whisper

12 April 2017

There's too much at too intense a volume for Kate Wyver to feel the full effect of Say it Loud

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Cruel Britannia

12 April 2017

Lily James sees clarity and the bravery to call out stupidity in No Human is Illegal

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Just the facts

12 April 2017

Elise Fairbairn muses on No Human is Illegal, Say it Loud and Swallow

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A sense of occasion

12 April 2017

The intimate shared moments of Celebration were what Nathan Dunn enjoyed, not the gags, which left him untickled

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Political movements

12 April 2017

Overlook the cliché and embrace the emotion in No Human Is Illegal, says Florence Bell

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All under one roof, raving

12 April 2017

Comedy, poignancy, politics, funky dancing – Celebration covers it all and enterains while it does so, says Joseph Winer

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Submit to happiness

12 April 2017

After a few days struggling to find classical structure and characters at the festival, Ghee Bowman finally and willingly enters the post-plot world, thanks to Celebration

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We're gonna have a good time tonight

11 April 2017

Adam Hutton doesn't even want to understand Celebration, just bask in its loveliness

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An idea cocktail

11 April 2017

There are many aspects of the refugee crisis that No Human is Illegal attempts to explore, says Adam Hutton, some more effectively than others

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Fun for all the family

11 April 2017

Casual satire or historically inapproproate? Phoebe Graham reviews The Iconoclasts

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Built on trust

11 April 2017

Phoebe Graham talks to the cast of he she they about personal expression and pushing themselves to go further

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Everything in its right place

11 April 2017

Swallow excels in representing mental health thanks to excellent writing and performances, says Florence Bell

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All part of the gender

11 April 2017

he she they manages to tackle gender identity in an inclusionary way without breaking a sweat, says Florence Bell

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A little hot mess

11 April 2017

Gender in all its complexity flourishes in he she they, says Joseph Winer

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Actions speak louder than words

11 April 2017

Say it Loud is a call to action, and invitation to be active agentssays Florence Bell

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The thick of it

11 April 2017

The short (but not so short) opinions on the shows so far from Robert Garner, who insists he's not that artsy

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It's a bloody big bird

11 April 2017

Adam Hutton is blown away by pelicans. And mentions Swallow a couple of times too

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Worth the telling

11 April 2017

Eve Allin responds to Hidden, demanding more from her student theatre

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Down the line

11 April 2017

A review in three parts, by Kate Wyver 

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It's all kicking off

11 April 2017

Elise Fairbairn reports on a packed day of workshops and shows 

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'Is this about gender? I'm pretty sure this is about gender'

11 April 2017

he she they provokes all kinds of thoughts and reactions from Adam Hutton. Is it 'high art'? Will it change minds? Does that matter?

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Played for keeps

10 April 2017

Lily James wants to join in the party and share in the joy of Celebration – she's just worried she won't get to stay

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Abstract exceptionalism

10 April 2017

Joy, energy and an expert handling of complex themes: Lily James just has to tell you all about he she they

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Winging it

10 April 2017

There's a pleasant blend of whimsy and punch in Blackbird, even if it could afford to chill a little, says Lily James 

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Lost in space

10 April 2017

The Iconoclasts is packed full of charm and memorable moments, even if it does spread itself a little thin, says Florence Bell

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Fair reflection

10 April 2017

It's the smaller moments of Hidden that charm Phoebe Graham

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The Irish aren't happy

10 April 2017

Hip-thrusting, moving songs and abortions – Adam Hutton finds much to enjoy in The Iconoclasts. Shame about the staging

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Take these broken wings

10 April 2017

A fragmented script holds Blackbird back from being the kind of twisted tale that Emily Davis usually loves

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Review: Mind the gaps

by Kate Wyver

I love the idea of seeing the awkwardness of daily interactions with strangers. In Departures I loved the ticket office attendant’s final rant about everything that is shit about life. I loved that the man in the suit wanted to learn to play the oboe. I loved that the first five minutes are wonderfully subtle with the nuances of everyday embarrassments, encounters and tiny gestures.

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Review: What a song and dance

by Jaz Manville

I wasn't expecting to like Departures. The synopsis put me in mind of long afternoons of endless drama improvisations and I'd heard rumours that it was almost entirely sung through, neither of which thrilled me. 

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