The Noise Next Door's Really, Really Good Afternoon Show

The Noise Next Door’s Really, Really Good Afternoon Show is what it says on the ticket. This hour features Noise Next Door's seasoned format of songs, sketches, and audience interaction - now with extra swords! A riotous hour of fast, fun, family-friendly (ish) improvisation.

Go and enjoy this really, really good show.

Entering, it already feels that you've walked into a fantasy RPG: there's medieval music, four bright banners and a throne are on the stage, and you are shown to your seat by one of the chatty, costumed performers. Games are taking place, including bows and arrows, and putting young audience members into the the stocks. By the time the show begins, we are already warm.

The four performers take on roles and attributes assigned to them by our suggestions. On this day, we have a dwarf skilled in rhythmic gymnastics, a wizard with an invisible potato peeler, an elf ballet dancer, and a sworn enemy of the twelfth regeneration of Doctor Who. Using these prompts for the first song, we are treated to a slick and funny number. Disappointingly, these quirks rarely resurface later in the plot, and are instead replaced by almost constant requests from the audience for new ideas. Each shout from the audience is met by a rapid quip from the performers: becoming a bicycle, one responds that he is the ‘spokesperson’; one unhappy member of Sausageland explains that German sausages are the Wurst; and so on. The troupe are brilliantly attuned to each other, and able to set-up each other's gags with instinctive ease.

The Noise basically insert jokes based on our prompts with a strict pre-existing format - in the opening number, for example, it is clear that the chorus lines are always the same. If you are an improv snob you might view this as something of a cheat, but it does ensure that their show is incredibly reliable. The same is broadly true of the scenes which happen between songs: they have such a tight script for the moments between prompts that you are seamlessly transported between plot points without really realising what is going on.

This is both their greatest asset and their biggest problem: their set-pieces ensure that there is never a weak moment, and any skits which are going less well can be smoothed over in a way that improvisers without a net cannot rely on. However, the moments which work best are actually those which are clearly unprepared, are fresh and genuinely surprising to the other members on stage. For us, the use of props brought particular inventiveness from the performers, and meant that they found new ways to interact with each other through a mop head as a toupee, a sweat towel as a saddle, a snapped sword cello taped to his forehead as a unicorn horn.

The troupe trust and enjoy each other's performances, and it's a joy to watch the moments where they are riffing from their responses. As is often the case, the moments where things go slightly wrong are the most delightful: for us, the costume of the many-legged monster became twisted and created a wonderfully skew-whiff beast writhing around the stage. I have no doubt there would be equally fun snippets on other days.

Afternoon shows are traditionally marketed for families, and Noise does a better job than most at actually catering for the younger members. A fight invites all kids on the stage to hit the performers with the foam swords, for example, and they use the children for as many of the featured characters as possible. However, somewhat ironically, they are scuppered in their intention by the lack of children in the audience: only three under-14s, to a packed room of adults.

Still, Noise manage to achieve the Pixar balance of family entertainment: fun which can be enjoyed by everyone, and enough euphemism to theoretically go over the children's heads but tickle the parents. Go and enjoy this really, really good show. 

Reviews by Lily Lindon

Assembly George Square Theatre

David O'Doherty: Big Time

★★★★
Roundabout @ Summerhall

Scorch

★★★★
Underbelly, George Square

Fleabag

★★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

Kiri Pritchard-McLean: Appropriate Adult

★★★★
Underbelly Med Quad

Joan

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
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Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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Performances

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The Blurb

The nine time sell-out comedy sensation returns to Edinburgh with an anarchic afternoon show for just about everyone. Join The Noise Next Door for an epic hour of outlandish characters, perfect punchlines and awesome songs all mixed together with the guys' trademark brand of off-the-cuff antics. As seen on ITV2, BBC Three and BBC One's The One Show! As heard on BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 4! 'Hilarious... A superior kind of chaos' (Daily Telegraph). 'Comedy gold' (Guardian).

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