…an incredibly enjoyable evening at the theatre that will leave you wanting to come back for more.
The director of the play within the play, Lloyd Dallas (a tall and talented Matt Bannnister) encourages his cast at the final rehearsal before opening by saying, “Think of the first night as the dress rehearsal. If we can just get through the play once tonight – for doors and sardines. That’s what it’s all about, doors and sardines. Getting on, getting off. Getting the sardines on, getting the sardines off. That’s farce. That’s – that’s the theatre. That’s life.”
Sounds easy, right? Maybe putting on the play Nothing On would be easier if Tim Allgood (a charmingly geeky Matt Provance), an overworked Stage Manager who also understudies the role of The Burglar and Phillip, had more sleep and more help. Poppy Norton-Taylor, the Assistant Stage Manager (an appropriately insecure, sensitive, and jealous Tamarin K. Ythier) has trouble focusing as well due to the love triangle between her boyfriend and director, Lloyd and Brooke (an appropriately clueless, distant, and sexy Sarah Melinda), an inexperienced actress who is always losing her contact lenses while rehearsing the part of Vicki in Nothing On. Ironically, Poppy is also the understudy to Brooke.
Dotty (played by a hilariously engaging Nancy Jones) a middle-aged, forgetful actress who plays the role of Mrs. Clackett in Nothing On is having a romantic relationship with a much younger cast-member Garry (an exhaustingly side-splitting performance by Jordan B. Stocksdale) who plays the role of Roger but takes pleasure in provoking him by showing an interest in Frederick (an appropriately pompous, slightly dimwitted Brian Kaider), the actor playing the role of Phillip. Frederick can’t handle any drama, getting nosebleeds at the first sign of violence and blood.
Rounding out the cast is Belinda (played by a classy Jessica Billones), a pleasant, sensible, and reliable actress who plays the role of Flavia, Philip Brent’s wife and Selsdon (Dino P. Coppa, Sr.), an older actor who, if is not in sight while rehearsing, the stage crew must find him before he finds the whisky. Dino is a comic delight whenever he is on stage. It’s hard to take your eyes off of him as he adds his brand of slapstick humor.
Besides the innovative, witty writing and terrific performances, part of what makes this play work so well is the set. Here, the set has to turn around to show what the backstage looks like during the play performances. Director Justin M. Kiska who also serves as the lighting and set designer for Noises Off creates just the right mood for an incredibly enjoyable evening at the theatre that will leave you wanting to come back for more.
Running Time: Two and a half hours, including one 15-minute intermission after the first act and one brief intermission between the second and third acts.
Advisory: Adult situations and language.
Noises Off! plays through April 23, 2016 at Way Off Broadway Dinner Theatre & Children’s Theatre – 5 Willowdale Drive, in The Willowtree Plaza, in Frederick, MD. For tickets and reservations, call the box office at (301) 662-6600.