King’s Theatre, Glasgow, Mon 22-Sat 27 Sep
Bringing farce to the fore, Michael Frayn’s 80s parody is touring once again, revealing the merry antics of a second-rate theatre company both on and off stage as it struggles with its ludicrous sex comedy, Nothing On.
Nestling at the core of this frantic play-within-a-play is the contrast between the reality revealed to the audience and that which normally remains hidden, as star Ben Hull (pictured) explains. ‘If you’ve been involved in theatre at any level, even a school play, you recognise the back-stabbing and bitching. It’s a traditional farce, and because it’s a form people know, they’re in on the joke.’
Despite their complicity, a well-timed wink at the audience is unlikely to transpire, as Hull reveals that it’s straight acting that brings the most laughs. ‘When we started I was playing it like a parody, but what you actually have to do is play it straight, because the characters are just ordinary people doing really extraordinary things. That’s the key to it all.’
Hull insists that despite its age, the laughs are still guaranteed. ‘Michael Frayn re-wrote it for the revival in 2000, changing the more dated details, and he’s been quite active in this production at rehearsals. It’s tremendous fun and if we can simply do what’s in the script then it should be a terrific show.’