A PLAY in Wantage is to descend into a shambles next week – but that is the intention in the production of Noises Off.

AmEgos Theatre is staging Michael’s Frayn’s award-winning farce about a group of actors and crew struggling to put on a play, at King Alfred’s Academy theatre from Wednesday to Saturday, December 2-5.

Noises Off lifts the curtain on the backstage drama of a touring theatre company of z-list actors as they stumble their way through rehearsals to a shambolic first night and a final disastrous performance.

Doors get stuck, sardines go missing, actors are glued to props, scantily-clad women search for missing bags and lines are dropped nearly as frequently as the leading man’s trousers.

AmEgos member Rob Thorpe, who plays Lloyd Dallas, the director who struggles to hold the show together, said: “I’ve appeared in six AmEgos productions – musicals, comedies and a murder mystery – all of which have been great fun, but Noises Off has been the hands-down winner for laughter among the cast during rehearsals.”

Each year, AmEgos stages one musical and one play, usually at King Alfred’s in Portway, Wantage. Last year’s play Improbable Fiction sold out three weeks before it opened and the group’s spring musical, Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods was well received, helped by an eery woodland set.

AmEgos was established in 2012 by mother and daughter Lesley Phillips and Grace Anderson, who recruited a group of friends – the name AmEgos is a play on words based on friendship for amateur actors – to form the group.

Although amateur, this theatre company has always aspired to professional standards.

AmEgos aims to stage varied productions to give both audience and actors a thrilling theatre experience in their own town. Noises Off director Lesley Phillips explained: “Choosing a show can be tricky, but we try to base our decisions around three things: has it been staged locally recently, will it draw an audience and will we be stretched, challenged and more importantly have fun putting it on.

“Noises Off is a difficult show to stage, the set is complicated and the actors have to be pretty fit for all the running around, so it’s not often presented.

“The author, Michael Frayn, has written one of the funniest scripts I’ve ever had the pleasure to work on.

“One critic claimed it ‘is, was, and probably always will be the funniest play written in my lifetime’.

“With accolades like that, who wouldn’t want to stage it?”

Ticket prices are £8 for Wednesday, £10 Thursday and Friday, and £12 Saturday, from Umami Deli in Wantage and Hare in the Woods Deli, Faringdon, plus wegottickets.com

For more information about the group, visit amegostheatre.com