Aired on KSDS-FM on 4/27/18
RUN DATES: 4/6/18 – 5/20/18
VENUE: Lamb’s Players Theatre
“Noises Off” has “Nothing On.”
That is to say, the wild and wacky 1982 farce by Michael Frayn, “Noises Off,” has a play within the play called “Nothing On.” Both are equally ludicrous. Together, they’re hilarious.
We start out at a rehearsal for the cheesy comedy being performed by a 3rd-rate English theater company that tours to far-flung holes-in-the-wall. It’s the night before opening, and everything that could go wrong, does.
But you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Act II takes place during a performance a month later, where we see extremes of mania and madness backstage.
By the time Act III rolls around, two months later, we’re watching the complete deterioration of the production; all hell has broken loose into an unhinged delirium of jealousy, revenge and ax-wielding.
At Lamb’s Players Theatre, Ross Hellwig has to jump around with his pants around his ankles. Brian Mackey has his shoes tied together in a spiteful prank, and is forced to hop up and down a staircase, and later tumble down those same steps.
Under the direction of Robert Smyth, with superb movement and fight choreography by Jordan Miller, the madcap cast provides gut-busting craziness – from the ditsy, sardine-obsessed Deborah Gilmour Smyth, to the line-dropping inebriate Jim Chovick, the airhead-in-underwear Charlene Wilkinson, and the lunacy added by Omri Schein, Jessica John, Fran Gercke and Cynthia Gerber.
On opening night, the first act fell flat, too frenzied and less impeccably timed than the rest.
But boy, do the next two acts deliver: from slamming doors – all seven of them! – to missed cues, botched costumes, missing props, and interpersonal intrigue of amazing variety.
During the two intermissions, you can watch Mike Buckley’s inventive set being rotated, piece by piece, to shift our onstage/backstage perspective.
“Noises Off” is one of the world’s funniest farces, hilariously satirizing every part of theater: actors, director, writer, stage manager.
Funny thing is, over the years, I’ve actually witnessed just about every one of those laugh-inducing onstage gaffes. Now you can, too. Prepare to giggle and guffaw.
©2018 PAT LAUNER, San Diego Theater Reviews