Northern Stage, Newcastle
Unlimited Theatre’s latest play, entitled The Noise, is described as a sci-conspiracy thriller: a who-dunnit style mystery, with a courageous young heroin, who remains the only one asking questions, but set in a dystopian-esque universe on a remote island in Antarctica, where the villagers are ceaselessly haunted by an inexplicable ‘noise’ – a noise that alters their emotions, their perceptions, a noise that makes them different.
The whole atmosphere was perfect as the stage was set with flickering blue lights and futuristic style sculptures contrasted with the characters clinging on to things that felt like home, a little pub, old songs, woolly hats and socks. It really captured the end-of-the-earth feel, attempting to escape back to familiarity in a world of new technologies. And of course, the noise that was present throughout, underlined every action – it was not quite loud enough to steal all the focus but not quite quiet enough to ignore completely, meaning the buzzing, beeping and beating was bullying my brains for a while after leaving the theatre.
The music was a very key part of the production and worked to good effect. Its clever manipulation, combined with great use of the stage to create smooth transitions and stills was where the brilliance of this piece of theatre lay. The more physical movements of the characters, well choreographed and synchronized, cannot be complimented enough.
However, there were some areas that I felt were left half developed. For example, while the overarching metaphors and questions the play posed were strong, I felt that the relationships between the characters were slightly lacking and not quite believable. Complex attractions and feelings were alluded to or suggested but never fully seen to flourish and I think that, in keeping with the small community feel, the way the characters interact with one another would play a crucial part in their existence.
That being said, I found each of the performers were very strong, particularly the main character Charlie (Rachel Gay) and her mother Frances (Viktoria Kay) and they provided a thoroughly enjoyable but simultaneously thought-provoking evening, the replicas of which I would encourage you to see.