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Saturday, 5 October 2013

Review: The Noise at Northern Stage

An Experiment in Sound and Intrigue from Unlimited Theatre


   The isolation of a small island community is not the only thing affecting the mentality of its members. A constant, changing noise has been there as long as the islanders remember, and it seems to be getting worse. The arrival of an imposing iceberg is followed by the discovery of a body washed up on the shore. There is something about the island that isn't quite right. Charlie Rachel Gay), a 17 year old girl and her curious scientist friend Harry (Jerry Killick) are about to investigate, when it all kicks off.

    The performance, unbroken by an interval, kept us on the edge of our seats as the mystery unravelled along with the minds of some of the islanders. An alcohol fuelled threat from sheep farmer Paul (Scott Turnbull) puts him in the frame for the murder, although there are serious doubts as to his guilt.

The cast build up the tension wonderfully and the "sci-conspiracy" plot develops to a deadly climax with Jerry Killick also taking the role of a government "man in black", a humourously cynical character mocking the female police "chief" Frances (Viktoria Kay) with references to Fargo, which, coincidentally, as a party we had been discussing on the way to the theatre.

The feeling of the island, the remoteness and the eeriness were created by clever use of sound and music (created in collaboration with electronic artist Minotaur Shock and sound designer Gareth Fry) moulding the world in which the islanders tried to exist. The nature of all sound was managed to create different environments and moods, voices could become internal, a space could become a cavern. What looked like a simple but very interesting stage set was actually very well designed to be used to represent all the places where action occurs. A metal sculpture represented the ominous iceberg. 

We had a great evening at Northern Stage. Although we brought our 10 year old son (we swapped tickets when we found that the recent Chekov's Seagull was not suitable for kids) we wouldn't recommend this show for under 14's as there is a lot of adult language. Our son just enjoyed it more because he never gets to hear that sort of vocabulary normally! We all enjoy a good conspiracy story and this hit the spot. Check out the downloadable programme here.


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