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Noise at the Old Rep Review

REVIEW | Noise | Birmingham’s Old Rep

Premiering this bold new piece of writing by Birmingham writer Thomas Moran, it’s a heart-warming and thought-provoking story about love and the challenges intertwined within that centred around the LGBTQ community.

In this bold new production, it tells the story of a group of freshers starting at university together. As we are introduced to the group of five teenagers living together, throughout the play we delve into their personalities as they grow up together. Nicolas Ancelin takes on the role of deaf student Evan, who falls for his confident flatmate Harry (Dominic Holmes). Their love story begins at university, and whilst it is hard for them to communicate, they find ways to make it work.

Also sharing their flat is matter-of-fact Josh who is the voice of reason of the group which is captured superbly by Oliver Knight. The sensible, yet mothering warmth in the house is Kate, played by Katherine Rodden, and although the slightly over-the-top Welsh accent, she brings the group together making them feel like a family. Sophie Airdien plays art student Rosie that is struggling with university, but brings excellent humour to the piece with her ditzy moments. All their personalities blend well together to create a supportive and wholesome atmosphere within the house.

Focused on the love story between Evan and Harry, it’s a beautiful story that focuses on both the light and shade of their relationship. Whilst there are moments filled with humour and quick-witted comedy timing, there are more poignant elements, such as Evan’s struggle with his hearing, that are touched upon throughout the show but reach a heartbreaking climax.

Through the use of physical theatre, the performance is filled with charged emotion which is enhanced by the powerful movement. The smooth transitions between the naturalistic scenes into the heightened physical theatre is emotive and strong.

Thomas Moran’s dialogue is witty and relevant, the characters feel real and perform so naturally, it is as if we have stepped into their university flat ourselves. Alongside this, we get an insight into the internal thoughts projected through monologues. Nicolas Ancelin performs Evan’s thoughts beautifully and effortlessly, which is helped by the particularly stunning language. Running at an hour and a half, I think the piece could be tightened and shortened to make it slick and sharp, which would emphasise the core message and themes even more.

The production elements are influential to the piece, as the lighting amplifies that switch from naturalism to the physical theatre movement, which echoes frantic assembly’s well-known style. Making the performance completely accessible is the captioning and BSL, which is in every single performance of the show – something which sadly isn’t seen often in new theatre.

Noise is an excellent portrayal of new writing that is honest, genuine and fresh as it focuses on relevant challenges young people are facing in today’s world.

On at the Old Rep until Saturday the 15th of April, tickets can be found here.

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