The Old Rep, Birmingham
Beautifully written and directed by Thomas Moran, Noise is a remarkable one act production which considers themes of identity and togetherness in an increasingly divisive society.
Five young University ‘freshers’ come together in their first student house, as they embark on their chosen, varied courses, with hopes and dreams of achieving a decent degree.
How will they cope with each other's moods and differences? Away from home and in unfamiliar surroundings they very soon make friends, enjoying each other's company, especially in the social hours between lectures and coursework.
Their fears, anxieties and aspirations are laid bare in this well considered and thought provoking and piece.
When Harry (Dominic Holmes), who is asthmatic first meets Evan, (Nicolas Ancelin) who is teetotal and profoundly deaf, they quickly realise there is a special, sexual spark between them and their ensuing relationship is acted out with compassion, discretion and emotional tenderness.
Their relationship is tested when Evan receives a letter advising him that he meets the criteria for a cochlea implant and inviting him to the clinic to discuss his options, but he is unsure and undecided.
Despite the possibility of a whole new hearing world opening up for him, he is comfortable and familiar with his silent movie like life. Is the ability to hear and be deemed 'normal' what he really wants? Or is it simply to be able to hear and recognise Harry’s voice as he speaks the words ‘I love you’?
Exceptional performances from both Holmes and Ancelin portray the difficulties and dilemmas that their characters face with believable compassion and emotion.
Josh (Oliver Knight), plays the older brother role in the house. He is bisexual, amiable and open to offers, possibly from fun loving Rosie (Sophie Airdien) who has the knack of finding the optimum lighting for the perfect selfie. The cast is completed by the delightful straight talking, expletive effusive Kate, (Katherine Rodden)
The construction of the storyline is superb, handling the sometimes controversial subjects of sexuality, disability, love, death and life with up to the minute 'student speak', showing that vulnerability, insecurities, stigma, acceptance, indecisions and frailties are an enduring constant in all our lives.
Beautifully staged, and confidently acted by the competent troupe of five, the play entertains with moments of high humour, alongside emotionally charged scenes of thought provoking sadness. Of particular note was the superbly well choreographed love scene which was handled with respect and dignity whilst portraying the strong feelings and emotions of the two young lovers. This could have been a stand-alone piece of art in itself.
An excellent production on all levels. To 15-04-17
Rosemary Manjunath and Elizabeth M Smith