Review of Noises Off
By Michael Frayn
Directed by Avi Lind
For tickets / schedule :
Curtain Call Theatre
Russian River Hall, Monte Rio
RUN: June 2-24, 2017
RATING: 4 of 5 stars
(June 2, 2017)
In rehearsal for a flimsy, trope heavy farce, with actors ready to walk on the project, Noises Off is an attempt to put on the play within a play Nothing On. What begins as slight technical glitches and the occasional missed line becomes a disaster by the final act, with axe wielding actors, incorrect cast members on stage during crucial scenes, and sardines everywhere.
Directing this barely contained mayhem is Avi Lind, who stages humorous tableaux, particularly in the second act, when Michael Tabib and Jake Hamlin’s set design shifts into a backstage setting. What is amusing to the audience is doubly so for those of us who have participated in productions where similar fiascos occurred. Nadja Masura’s haunted, stressed expression upon realizing the rest of the cast has no idea what to say, and she must take up the torch to keep the play moving is all too familiar.
Henpecked fictional director of Nothing On, Joseph Potter, attempts to navigate the high-strung cast, adding a dose of dry humor with his outbursts at the lack of professionalism. Katy Cady as his young protégé, Brooke, plays the daydreaming actress to perfection; her antics while fumbling under furniture for a lost contact drew quite a reaction from the audience. Lisa Psternak as the agitated stage manager, Poppy, took her cliché role and ran with it, assisted by Punk inspired touches on the costume and makeup design.
Marc Hirschman wandered in and out as the senile Selsdon, often falsely accused for leaving bottles of alcohol concealed about the set. His recurring ill-timed entrances are a constant source of amusement throughout the evening. This cast is a well-tuned ensemble of eccentricity, with delicate timing of the numerous opportunities for physical comedy, from costume entanglements to a misbehaving telephone cord.
Noises Off is a stereotypical comedy about the theater, but with this spirited production and a ceaseless array of jokes, it is difficult not to laugh along with the misfortunes of Nothing On and its doomed cast. Relax and enjoy the calamities—it is worth the drive out to Monte Rio.