REMOVING ALL THE LAUGHS FROM THE FUNNIEST PLAY EVER WRITTEN. A lot of theater directors like to put their own stamp on a play—to make the play “their” play rather than the author’s play. (I posted here about how the director of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet experimented with moving the “to be or not to be” speech to the beginning of the play and here about the director’s choice to begin the play with Nat King Cole singing Nature Boy.
Noises Off has been called the funniest play ever written, and as far as I know, it is. In this interview with Michael W. Miller in the Wall Street Journal (January 8), Michael Frayne, the author of Noises Off, tells about a current reinterpretation of Noises Off:
“There’s a production running in Hamburg where the director has decided this is not a comedy, it is a denunciation of all entertainment and a demonstration that all entertainment is a form of prostitution. He’s removed all the laughs.”
The audience and the critics hated the production, perhaps because they were not entertained.