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The Noises review at Old Red Lion, London – ‘muddled but well-performed’

Amy McAllister in The Noises at the Old Red Lion Theatre, London. Photo: Ali Wright Amy McAllister in The Noises at the Old Red Lion Theatre, London. Photo: Ali Wright

The Noises is a collaboration between a mother, writer Jacqueline Saphra, and her daughter, director Tamar Saphra. Fittingly, the theme of mother-daughter relationships also reoccurs throughout the play, which opens with a fight between an over-anxious mum and her teenage daughter who she is trying to stop from leaving the house.

The trick is that the story isn’t told by either mother or daughter, but by the family dog, Luna (Amy McAllister). Over the course of one evening, the noises of the home combine with more sinister bangs, crashes and sirens as Luna narrates her way through reminiscences, reflections and scatological interludes.

In theory, it’s a neat concept. McAllister makes the most of the part, convincingly capturing the mannerisms and posture of a bored canine locked up in a room. She howls out her pleas for food, obsesses over the whereabouts of her ‘Ellie girl’, and presents defence after defence for every time she takes a sneaky bite of a human hand or steals a cooked chicken from the dining room table.

Georgia de Grey’s effective and economical set also makes good use of the space by making it appear far bigger than it is.

But as the plot develops, it spirals out to include an utterly unbelievable series of events. Trying to determine what on earth is taking place becomes overly distracting, as do the frequently clichéd snatches of dialogue overheard by Luna. It’s a shame because if there’s one thing more interesting than a maternal bond, it’s the one between a woman and her dog.

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Man’s best friend takes centre stage in this muddled but well-performed new drama