The Next Stage Company celebrates the The Mission Theatre’s 10th birthday with the classic farce “Noises off” by Michael Frayn.

Set against the backdrop of a poor quality touring company who are presenting “Nothing On” the action revolves around aging actors, love affairs and the general confusion of where a plate of sardines should be set on stage. Each of the three Acts gives us different versions of the same piece of dialogue each one increasingly more bizarre than the last – although the second act showing the backstage chaos is without question the most successful episode.

This is a huge undertaking by any company and the impressive scaffold set dividing the Mission allows the audience to move sides to watch the play unfold; which in itself is a significant task to manage.

The pace is generally good and performances are strong, the piece relies on great trust and team work. Ann Ellison has directed and the company rise to the challenge.

With such a team it is wrong to single anyone out but Caroline Groom provides great entertainment in the second Act as does the hugely engaging David Dunn; Michael Stevens also creates a whirlwind of action as Garry as tempers and jealousy boils over.

Without wanting to disappoint, the run is completely sold out which in itself speaks volumes for the support in Bath for this unique venue at the beginning of its celebratory year.

Petra Schofield