★★★½☆ - Satisfying
There’s an old theatrical tradition that if the Dress Rehearsal is terrible then the Opening Night will be great! Atypically, the manic menagerie of itinerant actors rehearsing a flop called “Nothing’s On” find themselves caught in a time warp of frustration as they have little time left to rehearse and are understaffed. Pratfalls, on and offstage intrigue, and sardines all figure in the plot of this hilarious and comic theatrical romp.
Called “the funniest farce ever written,” playwright Michael Frayn's Noises Off takes a fond look at the follies of theatre folk, whose susceptibility to out-of-control egos, memory loss, and passionate affairs turn every performance into a high-risk adventure. This play-within-a-play captures a touring theatre troupe’s production of Nothing On in three stages: dress rehearsal, the opening performance, and a performance towards the end of a debilitating run. Frayne gives us a window into the inner workings of theatre behind the scenes, progressing from flubbed lines and missed cues in the dress rehearsal to mounting friction between cast members in the final performance. Brimming with slapstick comedy, Noises Off is a delightful backstage farce, complete with slamming doors, falling trousers, and -- of course -- flying sardines!
Director Benjamin Loewy commented: “We have such an incredible cast of comedic actors, and we have utilized their skill set. We have squeezed every ounce out of them to make it more of a visceral experience.”